The University of IowaAnnual Report 2008-09


Iowa City welcomes myriad musicians

Julia Howell, Doctoral student, organ

We all knew about the flood back in 1993, and we were all sort of hypothesizing that the same thing could happen, so in June, when the flood was imminent, all the organists actually tried to save our organs by sandbagging all of our practice rooms because of all the instruments in the School of Music, they were the only ones that were immovable.

I know that all of the other professors, especially on the first floor, they were scrambling to move everything up to the second floor. By the time the flood hit, there were Steinway grand pianos lining the halls of the upper floor because that was the only place that they could put them.

We have a great staff and we had a lot of people who were looking for us to go right after the flood happened—I think they knew that we would have to have options. I’d say probably back in July or August they were already scouting out buildings around town. They were asking churches if we could meet there—the buildings, the churches, and the businesses of Iowa City have been so welcoming, letting us take any corner that they have to spare for an office or a practice space.

Well, I work at Gloria Dei Lutheran as the music director, so as an organist, I had a perfect opportunity to practice there whenever I needed to. All these different churches just opened up their doors. It was kind of a good opportunity, because all the organists got to play organs we normally wouldn’t even get to touch. I know the churches also opened their doors to all other instrumentalists—you could be practicing upstairs at the UCC on the organ and hear clarinets downstairs and across the street there would be a choir going or a wind ensemble.

What prospective students need to remember, what current students need to remember is that the faculty is the same. It doesn’t matter what room you’re in; it’s what you’re learning and the materials that you’re using. Overall the content of the class is not going to be changed based on where that class is held.