NEWBERRY — Dr. Victor Vallo feels something special about Newberry College.
“There’s a community, a family environment that I like here,” he says. “I feel the energy. People like it here, and it’s contagious.”
Vallo joined Newberry College’s Department of Music over the summer, serving as a faculty member and the department’s chairperson. Originally from New York, Vallo is a trumpeter and cellist. He holds a master’s degree from George Washington University and a doctorate from the University of Florida.
Vallo says several things attracted him to Newberry. One was its status as a small Christian liberal arts college.
“I came in expecting to see an atmosphere where people work well together, and my expectations were correct,” he says. “I anticipated that people would help each other.”
He was also drawn by the department’s accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music.
“Being an accredited school since 1972 means that it has maintained certain standards of education,” Vallo says.
Vallo’s initiatives include a Student Advisory Council, where music students can voice their opinions and make their needs known. Junior Alisa Dunovant, a member of the council, believes it was a great idea.
Through the council, she says, Vallo has “been sure to hear the students’ input on things that we would like to see happen.”
Vallo has also made other changes since his arrival, getting new student desks and new choir chairs.
However, he has bigger plans for the future. “I’d like to start a graduate program for music education, a strings program, and update the technology upstairs in the technology lab,” Vallo says. “My job, my hope, is to start the big things.”
Music department secretary Georganna Enlow praises Vallo’s efforts. “I am seeing great things from him,” Enlow says. “He’s a go-getter. He’s already doing wonderful things around here.”
Enlow adds that students seem fond of Vallo.
“I think the students really like him. He pays attention to them, and listens to what they have to say,” she said.
Dunovant offers similar praises for Vallo, “The music building is made up of faculty and students that are very close, and constantly striving to improve. He fits right in.”