(NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) will present a concert featuring the Percussion Ensemble on Sunday, January 20 at 3:30p.m. at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. The concert is free and open to the public. Led by Director of Percussion and Percussion Ensemble Conductor Dr. Mesia Austin, the NJYS Percussion Ensemble will perform The Two of Usby J. Beck, French Suite for Percussion Solo by W. Kraft, Triple Threat by N. Ceroli, Drume by E. Harper, Vesuvius by E. Freytag, and Barnstormer by C. Cockarell, among other works.
The NJYS Percussion Ensemble provides the opportunity for talented young percussionists to perform challenging literature with intensive and personalized instruction in all percussion techniques. The ensemble has performed at percussion festivals, in concerts, and on tour.
“At NJYS, we strive to provide musical experiences that embrace more than just excellence in music,” says Helen Cha-Pyo, Artistic Director and Conductor. “We believe music is a powerful agent that transforms individuals, communities, and the world, and through our partnerships with local social service organizations we aim to use music as a tool to connect with the communities we live and serve.”
In celebration of the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s 40th Anniversary, the youth organization is partnering with social services in the communities where NJYS will perform throughout the season. For the January 20 concert, NJYS will partner with Morristown’s Homeless Soultions, Inc. and take in-kind donations including: low-sugar breakfast cereals, low-sugar oatmeal packets, coffee, and paper towels.
Dr. Mesia Austin, Director of Percussion and Conductor of the Percussion Ensemble at the New Jersey Youth Symphony, is an adjunct professor of percussion at Rutgers University where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts in 2016. She holds a Master of Music degree from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kennesaw State University. As an orchestral percussionist, Dr. Austin has performed with the Plainfield Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, and Princeton Symphony Orchestra. She founded Ozone Percussion Theater, a competitive percussion ensemble that performed in the Winter Guard International competition circuit. Created to offer fundamental marching percussion skills to students in rural Georgia, it grew into an award-winning novice ensemble.
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The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.
Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theater program.
Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, free musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. PMP launched its first site at the Community Charter School (CCSP) of Paterson in January 2013 with 32 second graders and has since added a new class of students each year. Since its inception, PMP has partnered with the Paterson Public Schools to open the Paterson Public School 1 and 26 site as well as the CCSP 21st Century Community Learning Center Program to start a winds and brass middle school program. Last year, PMP partnered with William Paterson University’s Music After School Program to create a central band site at the Norman S. Weir School to serve over 60 students. This year, Paterson Music Project will be partnering with the Rosa Parks Performing Arts High School in Paterson to host the PMP Saturday Program which includes large ensemble rehearsal, Community Choir, Afro-Fusion Percussion Ensemble, and private lessons. There are now over 250 students in the program across the city of Paterson grades 1-8.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.