Getting to Know

Musician and scholar earns full scholarship to VU

2013-06-21T00:00:00Z Musician and scholar earns full scholarship to VUBy Kimberly Cheek-Stanley Times Correspondent
June 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Musical talent and excellent grades have earned Crown Point resident John MacNeil a full scholarship to Valparaiso University.

A 2013 graduate of Crown Point High School, MacNeil auditioned at VU in March with his contrabass, also known as the double bass.

“The contrabass is the largest and lowest-pitched instrument in the traditional orchestral string family. It can be either bowed or plucked, and is usually used to provide the root note of chords in the harmonies of songs,” he said.

MacNeil has played the instrument for eight years, noting it weighs about 30 pounds and can range from five to seven feet tall. “Many people are thrown off by the bass, because we almost never get to play the melody in songs, and it's very rarely featured in orchestral works.”

“But the bass is a very versatile instrument. In addition to symphonies and orchestras, it can be found in concert bands, jazz bands and combos, rockabilly and 1950's-style rock and roll bands, blues and bluegrass bands, folk groups, and traditional country bands,” he said.

MacNeil is also an accomplished piano player, performing with the Crown Point Orchestra since the fifth grade.

He also has played with the Royal Regiment Marching Band as well as the South Shore Youth Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra.

The son of James and Kathryn MacNeil, he enjoys songwriting and home recording. He plans to study music industry and business at Valparaiso University.

“I would like to use my degree to work with others in the world of music, and to gain a better understanding of how music works from the other side of the desk, so to speak.”

“My ideal career would be one in performance, whether it be in a rock band, a symphony, a jazz band, or being a session musician. I would just love to channel my love of performance into a career, rather than just a hobby,” he added.

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