Empowering Communities

One Engineer’s Annual Summertime Song

May 1, 2018

Summer usually means sun, fun and lazy days with friends, something that Ryan Schiller enjoyed as a child in his hometown of Naperville, Ill. But when Ryan was 12 years old, he wanted to try something new and registered for a summer camp for musicians.

“I played viola in my school orchestra so I thought attending a music camp would be a good opportunity to grow my skills,” he says. “Besides, the OPUS Chamber Music Camp was only one week.”

That one week in 2007 turned into five more as Ryan attended each summer until he graduated from high school in 2011.

“I really liked the program and made lots of friends,” Ryan says. “We enjoyed it so much that a few of us returned to teach after we graduated high school.”

Ryan has volunteered as a teaching assistant at the summer camp for five years. The camp is geared to students from elementary and high school who are interested in playing chamber and orchestral music. The camp is sponsored by OPUS (Orchestra Parents/Patrons’ United Support) Association, a non-profit volunteer organization in Naperville.

“I enjoy giving back to a program that gave me so much,” he says. “I teach the students about music and how to play their assigned pieces of music. I also help them navigate playing music with a small group because teamwork is key the fewer musicians you have.”

Ryan credits the problem-solving, teamwork and goal-setting skills he learned as a student at the camp with helping him in his career as an electrical engineer at ComEd. He earned his degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

“Ryan’s a creative problem solver, assets that help him at OPUS and in his career as an engineer,” says Linda Lin Yu, Ph.D., OPUS founder and camp director. “Ryan is responsible, energetic, enthusiastic, and focuses on creating a positive experience for all campers. He’s a great team player.”

This year’s camp runs from July to August at North Central College in Naperville, and Ryan plans to be there making beautiful music with his students.

The 2018 Chamber Music Camp is for students studying violin, viola, cello, contrabass, flute, clarinet, classical guitar, and piano, ages 8-18. For more information, visit the website https://www.napopus.org/.