Assisting students and aspiring musicians on their educational journeys is music to Administrative Assistant Diane Stredde’s ears.
In Elgin Community College’s performing arts office, Stredde handles all things music, of course, and has been since she transferred to the department in 2015 after being involved in alumni relations. She assists with contracts for visiting artists that perform in the ECC Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre; sets up class sections in Datatel; maintains the music library; monitors the digital music lab; and helps students with music lesson registration, among other responsibilities.
“One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to listen to all the [music] students playing in the practice rooms and hear their progress from the beginning to the end of the semester,” said Stredde. “Their progress is often amazing, and I am happy to be a part of their experience at ECC.”
Stredde’s passion and profession are in tune. As a musician herself, Stredde plays the steelpan, viola, ukulele, guitar and piano. She recalls first visiting ECC for a rehearsal with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra during high school. As a result of her experience in the symphony, Stredde was the only freshman string player accepted into the university symphony orchestra at University of Illinois—her favorite class in school. She went on to perform with the U of I opera orchestra in “Porgy and Bess,” an opera starring William Warfield, which was a rare opportunity for a freshman. “It was one of the best musical experiences of my life!” said Stredde.
We caught up with Stredde to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
I had the privilege of being a District 509 trustee and was proud to be a part of the hiring process for our current college president, Dr. David Sam. As an employee, re-starting the ECC Alumni Association and being a part of the development of the English 101 alumni profile program have been my biggest accomplishments.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would walk around and thank everyone for what they do here and hand out 100 Grand [candy bars]— because they deserve it.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
What’s on your “bucket list?”
I’d like to visit Ireland. (Editor’s note: With all of her musical talent, we’re betting Stredde would come back knowing how to play the bagpipes.)
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to?
I’m a Disney fan, so that’s the best place I’ve been to and I go frequently.
What’s one [surprising] fact we should know about you?
I'm a certified death investigator and was a deputy coroner for Kane County for five years.
What would be your “theme song?”
If there is a song about “music being my life,” then that would be it.
What was your first job out of school?
My sister and I opened a Dixie Cream Donuts on McLean Blvd. in Elgin when I came home from college. The donuts were delicious, but music was my passion.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Nothing in life worth having comes easy.”
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
It has been a part of my life for over 40 years. I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful people, and I enjoy being a part of the college’s history.