CCC-C welcomes new instrumental music instructor

CCC-C welcomes new instrumental music instructor

Central Community College-Columbus has a new instrumental music instructor and concert band director, Dr. Krista Vazquez Connelly, whose first concert will be held this weekend.

The concert will be 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, in the Fine Arts Building auditorium, 4500 63rd St. in Columbus. On Thursday, Nov. 3, a choir concert will be held at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Columbus, 2710 14th St. The band and choir will have a combined concert on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building auditorium.

To welcome Vazquez Connelly to the community, The Columbus Telegram asked her some questions about her background and new role at the college.

Question: Where are you from?

Answer: I grew up in western Kansas. I’m from Nebraska, originally, but I spent most of my growing up in a tiny town in western Kansas. I have a lot of family in Nebraska, so this does feel like home at this point.

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Q: When did you start at the college?

A: I just started at the very end of July.

Q: Do you live in Columbus?

A: My husband and I moved, right before I started, a few days before I started that position. We moved over from Lincoln.

Q: Are you based on the Columbus campus?

A: Yes. Both of our music instructors here teach online courses, so we do serve the other campuses and communities for Central but the actual music program where you have ensembles, that’s here.

A: I’m the concert band director, (the concert band) meets once a week in the evening. A large part of that’s actually community members, as well as students here and high school students. It’s a really fun generational mix that we enjoy. I also teach a couple of online classes, gen ed music, we have a history of rock. We have an intro to music which basically looks at mainly Western classical music, the history of it …. And I also teach some of our core music curriculum, like ear training.

Q: What is your background? 

A: I’m a trumpet player, that’s how it started. I do teach trumpet lessons and other instruments here too. I also did music education in my earlier degrees. My advanced degrees are in music composition. So my specialty now is actually as a composer, but I kind of do everything here. I pull from that entire background to work here, which is good.

Q: When did you start playing trumpet? 

A: Fifth grade, so probably 10-years-old. I’ve been playing for a long time.

Q: How has it been going at CCC-C?

A: Great. I really like the community here. I like the students. They clearly have a passion for what they’re doing. They are working hard for me and I’ve enjoyed everybody I’ve met that I’m working with as well. We’re still getting to know Columbus, of course.

Q: What do you hope to bring to the college?

A: We’re hoping to grow the program, of course, especially post-COVID. COVID shut down so many things, and music and entertainment was one of the big ones. I’m definitely hoping to grow the program hoping to eventually expand offerings perhaps that the community might benefit from.

Q: Tell me about your first concert coming up. 

A: On Oct. 30, Sunday afternoon, at 3 p.m., we have our first concert of the whole year. It will be just the concert band with the second half being the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, which is a partnership that used to happen many times, we’re bringing that back again. Our half is titled “Tribute.” That title refers to two things. The pieces on the program, most of them are written by an American composer who has either recently passed away and so we’re giving them a pretty fresh tribute, or they passed away many years ago but they had a really big impact on American music or music globally. There’s one composer who’s not American, and I chose that work because it has a memorial quality to it. It’s slow, meditative a little bit and so I chose it for a slightly different tribute purpose.

Q: Do people need to buy tickets?

A: It is free. We do take donations but it’s very much a free event. And anybody can come.

Q: What do you think people can gain from attending the concert? 

A: I hope that especially post-COVID, people will see a revitalization of the arts. And that’s something that’s happening everywhere, just to finally feel like we’re getting back to normal. I hope that they will see a growing program. Something they can tell their friends about if they have friends who play an instrument, or maybe they play. We have a lot of community members in the ensemble and I’m always looking for more people.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I’d love to add something about my husband (Oscar Vazquez Medrano). We met doing our doctorates at UNL. He is finishing his doctorate right now in piano performance, he’ll be done very soon. He teaches piano and is wanting to get into the community, more teaching and helping as well. We’re both thrilled to be here and hope to make an impact in Columbus and the surrounding area.

Hannah Schrodt can be reached via email at

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