By Shelley Dean, Staff Writer
Gregory P. Franz is only a few weeks away from graduating. After having his last three semesters of college happen virtually, he is ready for the COVID-19 pandemic to end.
Both Franz’s mother and sister attended LIU, and Franz knew it was a perfect fit for him when he visited the campus. “I was following in the footsteps of my family and I thought it was a great atmosphere, particularly for me, so I decided to come here,” Franz said.
Franz is majoring in music education. As part of the program, he was required to be part of CNAFME, the collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education.
Franz followed in his sister’s footsteps and became the president of CNAFME. Franz wanted to become president because he supports the mission of the organization, and wanted to help fulfill it.
“Essentially we’re volunteering our time to the public schools for music,” Franz said.
As someone who is passionate about music, this hits close to home for Franz. At the all-county performances, the best kids from each school district get to come together to perform. The CNAFME organization volunteers at these events.
“When I was in public school I had a great experience with that, so I wanted to give back,” Franz said.
As president, Franz got to help with those events, organize fundraisers and guest speakers. This year, Franz had a different job as president, because he was inducted right as the pandemic hit.
Franz described his job as more of a “morale check-in” to make sure everyone was okay in these trying times.
“I said let’s not try to bang out requirements for music education, let’s make sure that every one of us is okay,” Franz said.
Franz has been in charge of a club during an unconventional time, but has tried to keep everything interesting. There have been various virtual events, such as a Bob Ross paint night. Franz recalls this event as his favorite CNAFME memory.
Franz’s favorite show through CNAFME was a coffee house fundraiser that was semi-live. They invited kids from five close school districts, and some even performed.
“It wasn’t just us anymore, it was community outreach and the kids got a creative outlet during covid,” Franz said.
Franz was able to bring music to a community that has been isolated and deprived of events such as these.
As far as next year goes, like many seniors Franz does not have any plans set in stone. He is in the final round of interviews for the Royal Conservatory of Scotland for Masters of Music Direction. At this point he is just looking for jobs as well.
Franz has been part of his own program as well as the theatre program. He has played in the pit for shows such as “The Wild Party” and last year’s Dance Cabaret. He has also helped arrange music for the program. He is considered extremely valuable to many at this school, and will be missed.
Many wish Franz the best, and cannot wait to see what he does in the future.