Dr. Cheryl Frazes Hill has been a vital member of the Chicago College of Performing Arts community for two decades and will retire at the end of the fall semester. An acclaimed conductor and educator, Frazes Hill has impacted countless Lakers since 2002 and prepared numerous CCPA students for a career in musical education. Her departing remarks are below:
“It is difficult to sum up a 20-year relationship with Roosevelt University in a paragraph or two. There are so many highlights and so many peak experiences, as is often the case in the world of music-making and education. Listing only a few, I can say that performances connected with social justice remain some highlights that I have shared with my students. Particularly emotional peak experiences included hosting panels related to LGBTQ advocacy (which accompanied performances of Considering Matthew Shepard), joining the Chicago Sinfonietta for the American premiere of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech set to music—Mountain Top—at Orchestra Hall, and preparing our students to join members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Defiant Requiem, which depicted the prisoners of the Terezin Concentration Camp during World War II during a performance of Verdi’s Requiem to the Nazis and the Red Cross.
“On the other end of the spectrum, our students performed three concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the movie Home Alone and worked alongside the Rolling Stones for three sold-out United Center concerts. All of these memories are shared by the hundreds of students who were able to experience these very special opportunities.
“The annual visits of our music education alumni—now teaching music throughout the United States and even China—have been equally memorable. Hearing how their education at Roosevelt has enabled them to impact the next generation of learners through the incredibly creative, inspiring music programs they now offer fills me with gratitude for the choice I made to be an educator of educators. Many of our alumni are serving in underprivileged communities as a result of the social justice mission we have embedded into our teaching methodology. Our students will change the world with their skills, knowledge, dispositions and advocacy for every child deserving of music education.
“Finally, I am deeply grateful for what I have learned from our incredible faculty colleagues and from my students. Roosevelt University has supported my opportunities to grow, resulting in my advancement as a conductor, educator and scholar. I am grateful to have been given research leaves to write my book, Margaret Hillis: Unsung Pioneer. To have grown in so many ways while guiding my students to grow in their knowledge and experience has been a great gift.
“We truly learn more as educators than we can ever hope to convey. I am deeply grateful for these twenty years as a professor at Roosevelt University, and I look forward to a continued affiliation with Roosevelt University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts in the years to come. Thank you CCPA and Roosevelt Community. I am honored to have been a part of this distinguished faculty.”