Spreading love, one ear at a time
On-campus musicians grew immensely last semester with the launch of Music of a new performing arts program headed by Jay Kappraff, the school’s music director.
Kappraff, a longtime listener of classical music and fan of Joshua Bell and Count Basie, wanted to bring the joys of classical music to the new generation of listeners. “Students are not usually aware of classical music and what meanings it holds; we hope to encourage people to join us and play in one of our groups.”
Currently, the music program has 3 featured groups with roughly 10-15 students in each orchestra. There is the Wind Ensemble led by Nick Santoro, the Jazz Band with David Rimelis, and the String Ensemble led by Karen Pinochi.
Kappraff described the process of starting the program, which was made possible by a grant from the Bergen foundation. “It was actually not that difficult; it went rather smoothly. It was something that was ready to happen. Just needed some coaxing. There was already a music group of faculty and some students.”
“We needed a full array of students.” He explained. “We sent out a survey to everyone, students faculty and staff asking them what instruments they played and if they were interested in being part of a music program. From that list of names, we sent out invitations.”
Tianyu Gong, an Electrical Engineering Graduate student, was one of the first to join. “There was a meet and greet. We answered questions about our favorite instrument and they sent out emails what group we were in.”
Gong can play a number of instruments; he knows how to play the viola, some cello and a little piano, but is most skilled with the violin. Because his favorite instrument is the violin, he plays in the String Ensemble orchestra.
He enjoys being part of the orchestra. “I like playing the violin. You are not playing alone; you are connected to the masterpiece and you can enjoy being together with the others in the orchestra.”
Kappraff wants the program to continue to grow and gain recognition. “Our overall vision is to become an acknowledged part of the academic program at the school, or even a well-recognized fixture. We really want this to be a mainstream part of what goes on here at NJIT. Then we will consider ourselves a success.”
As for what comes next, Kappraff hopes to invite musicians to have a chorus, and a network where people can get together and play with each other in small groups.
“If you want to play music with us, please just come see us. It is an absolutely fantastic experience in the school. Join us, make this group stronger and bigger.” –Tianyu Gong
For more information about any of the music groups, go to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Jay Kappraff at email@example.com.
The next performance of the music groups will be on April 15. More details will be announced as the date approaches.