An intricate melody permeates the energetic drumline and saxophone accompaniment of the Leland Stanford Junior College Marching Band (LSJUMB) on the group’s spring quarter rally. Amid the mass of scholars, one clarinetist could be heard by way of the revelry. She’s none aside from Affiliate Director of Bands Rachael Vega, the primary lady of shade to occupy a band directing place at Stanford College.
Vega’s work as Affiliate Director of Bands consists of supporting LSJUMB scholar leaders, serving as occasion liaison and juggling a lot of logistical issues. As hers is a more recent place for the College, Vega mentioned she needs to develop it to finest help college students.
Vega at all times knew she wished to be concerned in music afterward in life. Nevertheless, she wasn’t at all times set on band directing.
“At one level at school, I had an opportunity to do a scholar conducting of the band and I assumed, ‘that is really actually enjoyable,’ so I form of explored that extra and went into music faculty for instrumental music training,” Vega mentioned.
Vega auditioned into Florida State College on her major instrument, the clarinet, and went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s in instrumental music training and a Grasp’s in music training. She then turned the Director of Bands at Wakulla Center Faculty in Crawfordville, Florida, and went on to direct bands at Alto Worldwide Faculty in Menlo Park, CA earlier than coming to Stanford to work alongside the Director of Bands Russell Gavin.
Gavin had discovered of Vega’s work band-directing within the Bay Space earlier than her appointment to Affiliate Director of Bands at Stanford and had excessive expectations of what she would carry to the desk. Vega didn’t disappoint.
For one, Gavin says Vega continues to carry ingenuity to the job in stunning methods. Within the final educational yr, when the pandemic was nonetheless impacting in-person attendance at Stanford, Vega began instructing ukulele lessons. Sharing this a part of herself was a means by which she was “being a service to the scholars,” he mentioned.
LSJUMB units itself aside from different university-level marching bands by welcoming all, no matter musical expertise. Vega is thus additionally tasked with working extensively with members who’re studying new devices.
Band supervisor Ellie Vela ’23 enormously values the work that Vega places towards mentoring college students who’re newer to their devices.
“I feel [Vega] positively provides an enormous help mechanism for recruiting individuals into Band who could also be new to their devices or didn’t have a ton of musical expertise,” Vela mentioned. “Having someone whose particular experience is music training — particularly from a newbie focus — actually places our cash the place our mouth is and says, ‘We welcome individuals and we now have the help community for you when you get right here.’”
The truth that Vega is the primary lady of shade to carry an LSJUMB band director place additionally issues to Vela: “It means lots to me as an individual of shade in Band, that we now have an individual in an expert position, who additionally shares that id with me and we will join,” they mentioned. “Rachael and I’ve related on that entrance earlier than.”
Outdoors of supporting the Bands, Vega can also be an appointed lecturer on the Graduate Faculty of Schooling (GSE) and works with the Bridge Peer Counseling Middle, a student-run peer-counseling heart on campus. There, Vega helps coordinate EDUC 193P: Peer Counseling on the Bridge, the second course in a coaching collection with EDUC 193A: Hear Up! Core Peer Counseling Abilities, that Stanford college students should take earlier than working on the Bridge.
Bridge staffer Kate Frimet ’22 M.A. ’22 contacted Vega in early 2022 to assist out with the course. Vega now works alongside Government Director of Menace Evaluation Alejandro Martinez in supporting college students in EDUC 193P. She picked up the instructing materials fairly quickly, in line with Martinez, and has since been an efficient instructor along with a constant supply of help.
“She is aware of how one can have interaction with college students very nicely [and is] very beneficiant together with her time so I’ve a number of admiration and respect as a result of instructing these lessons requires that you just stretch your self,” Martinez mentioned. “She makes the category snug for individuals — and a few of the materials is difficult, like physique picture, despair, nervousness.”
Earlier than Vega started working in her position, Gavin might solely hope she would reside as much as what he’d seen on her resume — “that she’s an elite educator who isn’t afraid of pondering outdoors of the field. You hope they’re going to be an excellent individual, and an excellent collaborator and an excellent colleague,” he mentioned. “Within the case of Rachael, she’s been all of these issues.”