New director brings fresh perspective to Schaumburg's cultural services department
Tiana Weiler is enthusiastic about her new role leading an engaged and experienced staff to move the village of Schaumburg's cultural services department forward with artistic performances and special events after the near-total shutdown of the pandemic.
As only the third permanent head of the department, the recent director of event management at McCormick Place in Chicago brings the first outside perspective to the position in decades.
She finds herself at a village that's not only proud of its long-running cultural offerings but open to the fresh ideas a newcomer can bring.
"I think it's definitely open to new ideas," Weiler said. "We were just talking about what does engagement look like."
Just last year, a new Schaumburg Choral Program joined the existing traditions of the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra and Schaumburg Dance Ensemble. This fall, it will take another step with Schaumburg Choral Artists for adults, college students and advanced high schoolers directed by Conant High School teacher Tim Koll.
Weiler said the new group is a testament to the fact that many people interested in the arts want to remain involved beyond their youth participation.
She also is pleased by the variety of programming in the recently announced new season of performances at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts that can be found at prairiecenter.org.
While Weiler still sees some signs of concern about COVID-19 in the community, attendance of the recent Summer Breeze concerts has been exceeding those of spring concerts, and the number of young people participating in department programs has been climbing back toward pre-pandemic levels.
The first three-day Septemberfest since 2019 this Labor Day weekend is another major milestone in the village and cultural services department's recovery, Weiler said. Significant new membership on the planning committee also has demonstrated an equivalent energy among community volunteers.
While Weiler coordinated events at McCormick Place and the Minneapolis Convention Center for much of the 21st century, she saw the position in Schaumburg as an opportunity to return to the arts background she came from at the Minnesota Orchestral Association during the 1990s.
She's looking forward to seeing events and audiences at the Prairie Center returning to normal in the short term.
"Live entertainment is very important in Schaumburg, I think we have to put out the programming so people will come," Weiler said. "I'm just excited to meet our attendees and our guests."