MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - A new major in music performance and technology was introduced as 2,200 students returned to classes Sept. 5 on the five campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
The new music major on the East Brunswick Campus will be part of the School of the Arts, which also includes programs in theater, dance, arts technology, digital film, graphic design/commercial art and illustration, and multimedia art and design.
“We have a really outstanding and vibrant arts program,” said Superintendent of Schools Dianne D. Veilleux. “The music program is a great addition.”
Veilleux noted that the new music teacher, Andy Greatorex, has extensive professional experience and plans to collaborate with the other programs in the School of the Arts. She said renovations are underway to add performance and practice space on the East Brunswick Campus.
“We’ll be developing the music program facilities as the year goes on,” said Sean McDonald, director of career and technical education. “We’re excited about this addition. All our arts programs will be working together.”
Greatorex, a bass player, was born and raised in Australia, moving to the U.S in 2003 to study music at the University of North Texas and earn degrees in jazz performance and music theory. He has played in jazz bands, a country band, and a blues band that toured as an opening act for such performers as Train, Collective Soul, and Johnny Winter. He now divides his time between teaching, working as a sound mixer and performing with a wedding band based in New York City and the original funk group Delgado. He is on the artistic team of the nonprofit organization Rockit Academy.
MCVTS offers 34 career majors. In addition to Greatorex, there are nine additional new teachers in CTE programs, including in business, culinary, agriscience, automotive, welding and construction.
“They’ll be bringing a fresh perspective, new energy and a great deal of industry experience,” McDonald said.
Grants from the state Department of Labor and craft laborers and carpenters unions are enabling new pre-apprenticeship programs in manufacturing, machine-tool technology and automotive technology.
“These programs will train and place our students into apprenticeship programs,” McDonald said. “More than 100 students will be participating this year.”
A new evening automotive apprenticeship program for mechanics at new-car dealers is under way in the MCTVS Adult School, helped by a New Jersey Department of Labor grant to the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR), a nonprofit organization serving new car and truck retailers.
“We developed the curriculum with NJ CAR to address a shortage of qualified mechanics at auto dealerships,” said Dawn Lystad, director of adult education.
The program is available on the MCVTS East Brunswick and Piscataway campuses.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation, has campuses in East Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge. More information is available at www.mcvts.net.