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ACJW in the Schools

Ensemble ACJW’s in-school residencies represent one of the largest in-depth collaborations between a cultural institution and New York City public schools. Fellows serve as musical resources to schools in all five boroughs of New York City and bring mastery of their instruments, as well as a professional performer’s perspective to music classrooms.

Oboe fellow James Riggs has partnered with the High School for Public Service in Brooklyn for the past year, working with the school’s instrumental music teacher to strengthen the students’ musical skills. In December, he invited his students to attend an Ensemble ACJW concert at Carnegie Hall.

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Oboe fellow James Riggs with students at the High School for Public Service in Brooklyn

Selicia Graham, a budding baritone horn player in the 11th grade, said, “My experience at Carnegie Hall watching Ensemble ACJW perform was extraordinary! I’ve never been there before or seen an instrumental performance, and it was an experience that I wish I had sooner because it was simply amazing. Working with Mr. Riggs has really motivated me to be better at playing my instrument. He has spent years perfecting his technique on the oboe and although I’m new to the baritone, I want to practice perfecting my pitches, dynamics, and technique. It was a wonderful opportunity to get that experience and to have Mr. Riggs work with my high school band.”

Another 11th grader from James’s classroom, clarinetist Kenni Rudd, also commented on the performance. “During the performance, I witnessed how each different instrument had its own position that makes it easier to play. Also, I saw that the musicians make eye contact throughout the composition for many reasons. The musicians’ facial expressions reflected the music. You could tell when it was a happy, sad, or intense moment. I was hearing other instruments such as the oboe, violin, and piano, and also recognizing how each collaborates with each other. Mr. Riggs works with my band class and it was amazing to see him play his oboe. The performance was beautiful.”

Learn more about Ensemble ACJW.

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