PATERSON, NJ - Paterson Music Project (PMP), an El Sistema-inspired community program of Wharton Music Center, announced a $5,000 donation from two high school students, siblings Alex and Emily Wang of Scotch Plains.
Alex and Emily Wang served as volunteer mentors during the Paterson Music Program’s 2014 summer session, which provided music instruction to 20 students at the Community Charter School of Paterson from July 7-31. Touched by the enthusiasm and dedication of the young PMP students and the positive impact the program was making in the lives of children in Paterson, Alex,17, and Emily, 15, decided to donate their summer employment earnings to the program. Alex and Emily’s parents, Frank and Pingping Wang, have long encouraged their children’s music studies and hold the belief that arts education should be accessible to all students. Frank and Pingping gladly agreed to match Alex and Emily’s gift to the Paterson program dollar for dollar.
Both violinists and members of the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), Alex and Emily have participated in NJYS for nearly a decade and are members of Youth Symphony, the premier ensemble of NJYS which was recently awarded first place in the 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival in Vienna. Alex has served as concert master of Youth Symphony since 2012.
“We are simply giving back some of what NJYS has given to us all of these years,” says high school senior Alex Wang. “The support we have received from our families, teachers and the New Jersey Youth Symphony is what makes us who we are today. I think that is what the Paterson kids need. Every effort counts!”
Paterson Music Project offers a structured environment for fostering social change and youth development through music to enable participating students to feel valuable within their community. Paterson Music Project came to life in January 2013 when thirty second grade students joined the after-school program to learn to play violins, violas, and cellos. Within a few short months the students appeared on stage with the New Jersey Youth Symphony at the Union County Performing Arts Center for the Wharton Music Center 2013 Spring Gala Performance. By the completion of its second year in June 2014, the number of children participating in the program had doubled, and looking towards the future Paterson Music Project expects to expand into a full-fledged orchestra for the entire elementary school and eventually throughout the Paterson School District.
“We were glad to spend valuable time with the students of the Paterson Music Project this summer. Alex and I donated to the program because we both hope they can continue to have music next year,” says Emily Wang. “If someone told us that we would be unable to continue to study music, we would be devastated. We have been granted so many privileges, especially traveling to Vienna with the New Jersey Youth Symphony and performing in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world, and we hope the students of Paterson can someday experience the same.”
Wharton Music Center, where creativity and expression converge with exploration, provides a diverse range of classes and programs as New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center. Serving nearly 1,200 students with high quality instruction in all instruments and voice, musical theatre, drama, and dance, Wharton and its esteemed faculty of talented professionals offer instruction for beginners of all ages, as well as an in-depth, sequential course of study through its Achievement Program, and orchestral and ensemble training with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, its orchestral and ensemble affiliate. New Jersey Youth Symphony features fourteen ensembles, available by audition for students in grades 3 – 12, and its premiere ensemble has appeared in such internationally renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.
Innovative programming and over 500 classes taught weekly, from Early Childhood Music, music theory, and audio recording to Introduction to Instruments, ensures that there is something for all ages and interests.
Part of our mission as a community school for the performing arts is to engage, educate, and enrich our community with a broad spectrum of accessible programming. Dedicated to serving the community, WMC provides instruction at local public, private and charter schools in after-school settings and during the school day. From an assembly program to a full-year residency, our outstanding faculty collaborates with school principals and staff to offer customized curriculum to meet the needs for music, drama, and musical theatre instruction for each school or organization. One of the highlights of our community programs is the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program that provides intensive music instruction to elementary school students attending the Community Charter School of Paterson.
Wharton Music Center builds personal connections in the community through an array of faculty and student performances, many of which are free and allow community members to become more involved with WMC. These often interactive Community Concerts include classical, jazz and family programs and are held at a variety of venues throughout the region. New Jersey Youth Symphony ensembles, both large and small, perform throughout the community.
Located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, New Jersey, Wharton Music Center and New Jersey Youth Symphony serve students from thirteen counties.
For additional information about our community programs and class offerings visit our website www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or call 908-790-0700.