Two Bayonne churches have teamed up to create a new musical school in Bayonne.
Called Hand-in-Hand Music School, it is a joint ministry of Trinity Parish in Bergen Point and Grace Lutheran Church.
“Our mission is to offer accessible music education to the young people of our community in order to foster growth of body, mind, and spirit to contribute to a balanced, positive and creative life,” said Arthur Murray, the director of the program, noting that this program is designed to enhance programs already found in the local schools – not replace them – by offering students additional opportunities to hone their craft.
This is the first in what could possibly become a series of joint ventures between the two churches in an effort to provide social service programs to the community, he said.
Discussions about a joint venture started about a year ago between members of both churches.
“A music program seemed like a good place to start.” – Arthur Murray
Although they came up with various ideas, some of which may come to pass in the future, the idea of doing something to serve the children of the community struck a chord.
“We thought about various ideas, such as starting a pre-school,” he said.
But as the year progressed, they came to realize they needed something relatively simple to launch the new venture, something that could make use of the resources and talent the group already had.
“A music program seemed like a good place to start,” he said.
Grace Lutheran on Avenue C had unused classroom space from an addition to the church done at some point in the 1960s.
“We have about five or six pianos kicking around and we have a number of musicians. We thought a musical school would work,” he said.
The program will start off with three teachers – all three capable of teaching multiple instruments: Murray, Marianne Greiman, co-director, and Sylvain Leroux.
Murray said of the many ideas, the music program was the easiest to meet and that there are enough students in the area to fill the need.
He credited the arts director for the Bayonne School District, Joan Rosen, for inspiring children to pick up instruments, and he believes the church effort will help students, from the slowest learners to the more advanced.
“We believe we can support the wonderful work being done in the schools here,” he said.
The program would offer lessons on two levels, private tutoring or group sessions.
The teachers have impressive biographies
Murray began trumpet studies at the age of 9, earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Victoria, and completed an artist diploma in Freiburg, Germany while on fellowship from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). His studies concluded with a master of music from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He performs regularly with several New York and New Jersey orchestras and as a soloist at several churches in Manhattan, as well as Grace Lutheran in Bayonne. In 2002, Murray formed the Central Park Brass Quintet. He currently teaches trumpet, trombone, percussion and African drumming as a teaching artist with the Midori and Friends Foundation in Harlem, N.Y. He is also on the faculty of the Ovation After School Music Program in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Greiman, who will be teaching piano and violin, has been teaching in the Bayonne public school system since 1989. She began her teaching career in the Gifted and Talented Music Program at Vroom School, and has followed the program to its various locations through the years as a member of that faculty. She directs several annual musical productions at School No. 14, and serves as the organist at Grace Lutheran Church, choir director/pianist for St. Andrew’s Church, and as music and drama director at Ms. Huguette’s Dance and Theatrical Studio. She was awarded the Master Teacher’s Collaborative Award from the New Jersey Symphony.
Sylvain Leroux, who will teach flute, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, bass and percussion, studied classical music at Vincent d’Indy and at the University of Montreal. He attended the legendary Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, N.Y., where he participated in workshops led by world-class musicians. He has been active on the North American jazz and world music scene for more than 30 years as a performer, band leader, composer, arranger and producer. He is one of the rare outsiders to play the “tambin,” the distinctive flute of the Fulani people of Guinea, West Africa. He is the director of “Fula Flute” and leader of the African Jazz group “Source.” He has taught music and instruments for more than 35 years, both privately and in classrooms. He has conceived and led academic programs for the Metropolitan Museum, Lincoln Center and public schools.
Those interested should call for information on costs of lessons. Financial aid may be available on a need basis. Lessons begin Oct. 15.
A benefit concert for the scholarship program
A benefit concert to raise scholarship money will be held on Oct. 18 at Grace Lutheran Church – Avenue C and 37th Street. The concert for viola and cello starts at 2 p.m. The New York City based Driftwood Duo will perform works by Bach, Beethoven, Bloch and Stravinsky. The proceeds will benefit the Hand-in-Hand Music School Scholarship Fund. Tickets will be available at the door. Suggested donation is $15 adults/$10 seniors (children 0-15 free).
For more information about the concert or the school, call (201) 339-3685.