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5 Questions with 2014 AIU Graduation Performer Darrin Johnson

AIU Online held an AIU Voice competition to find the lucky staff member who would win the opportunity to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Aug. 2 graduation ceremony at Chicago’s Navy Pier. After the first round of auditions was complete, three finalists were named. The finalists recorded their performances of the national anthem, which were uploaded to YouTube where AIU staff, faculty, students, and alumni were able to vote for their favorite.

Across the four-day voting period, 170 votes were tallied, naming trumpeter and AIU Online’s Administrative Faculty Darrin Johnson as the victor. We spoke to Darrin to learn a little more about who he is and what graduation means to him.

Congratulations on being named the winner for the “AIU Voice” competition!

Thank you. I feel really grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the graduates and to perform at graduation.

What is your role at AIU and how long have you worked here?

I’m an Administrative Faculty for AIU. I support the faculty, oversee our students’ learning experience, support policies and procedures, and assist the Program Chairs.  I’ve been with AIU since January 2006.

What’s the most rewarding part about working at AIU?

I would say working with our students and faculty and being an integral part of the learning experience—especially seeing our technology support the educational needs of our students.

Why did you want to perform at graduation?

Graduation is such an exciting time, a time to honor our graduates and their accomplishments, and I’ve always enjoyed instrumental versions of the National Anthem. I love the trumpet and therefore thought it would be a great opportunity to blend the two experiences.

How long have you been playing the trumpet and have you ever played in any kind of group or publicly?

Since the sixth grade I’ve played in numerous bands and wind ensembles, and I’ve performed for weddings and other formal ceremonies.  A few years ago, I was honored to perform the National Anthem at a White Sox home game. I also perform at various local community and sporting events.

What advice do you have on success for our newest AIU graduates?

First and foremost, always believe in yourself. Next, be clear on your goals and take manageable steps to reach your ultimate destination.