A different side of President Timothy Killeen

President Timothy Killeen and National Center for Supercomputing Applications Director Ed Seidel perform at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Ellnora Guitar Festival Saturday. 

By Megan Jones

As University President Timothy Killeen got up on stage Saturday, it wasn’t to talk about higher education or the summer of scandals at the University.

It was to play classical guitar at the Ellnora Guitar Festival hosted by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Killeen was joined by National Center for Supercomputing Applications Director Ed Seidel. Both Killeen and Seidel worked at the National Science Foundation together years ago, Killeen said, and they were “wannabe musicians.”

“At heart, everyone is a musicican — just like how everyone is a scientist,” Killeen said after the show.

Killeen said Krannert Director Mike Ross asked them if they’d be willing to play, and Killeen said “I’m ok with making fun of myself” and he wanted to be present in the community.

Ross introduced the act as one of many popup shows Krannert is beginning at the Ellnora Guitar Festival.

Ross said prefaced by saying “neither of them have ever received a paycheck for playing guitar.”

“I know these guys are out of their comfort zone because they asked me to audition them last weekend and I couldn’t believe how nervous they were,” Ross said. “That were so ridiculous it was so not part of the deal.” 

Seidel performed several pieces from the Hawaiian Key Slack genre, while Killeen played classical pieces, such as Antonio Lauro’s Venezuelan Suite No. 1 “Registro.” 

Killeen ended the set by playing The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun,” which he dedicated to the deans, faculty and staff of the University. 

As Killeen put on an Ellnora t-shirt, he exclaimed, “if we can do this, we can do anything.” 

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Seidel as Ed Diener, professor emeritus. The Daily Illini regrets this error.