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2023 Year In Review

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School of Music and Drama 2023 Year in Review -

Looking back on another great year and we are so grateful we get to continue providing Monmouth County families and students with the skills they need to enjoy music and drama for our 21st consecutive year! When I started this School in 2003 with $5,000 in my savings account and a dream I never could have imagined how successful we would be. In January we added the nationally acclaimed Drama Kids as our drama program with the wonderful Miss Melissa who teaches it. We had two great recitals - Spring and Winter - with our amazing students playing and singing all kinds of music - rock, pop, classical, jazz, holiday songs, original songs and more - on guitar, piano, cello, violin, saxophone, trumpet and drums. We continued our partnership with Applaud Our Kids, an absolutely fantastic foundation that helps kids who wouldn't otherwise have the chance get arts education. In September, Michael Chen a great guitarist, singer and songwriter and a member of our 10 Year Student Club! went off to great things in college in West Virginia. In November we began writing our monthly newsletter again and featured Kieran Lang and Julia Shull as our first Students of the Month, shining a light on them and their achievements. In December we started a friendship with Kieth and Laura at the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, our towns Historical Museum and one of our great students - Bella Rutkowsky - did a Christmas Concert there playing her guitar and singing beautiful Christmas Carols. We look forward to adding more and more extra performance opportunities like that in 2024 with our new Rock Band and Jazz band programs. We had our first Annual Christmas Songwriting Contest in 2023 and the winner, Katherine Yalamanchili wrote a terrific tune called "Snowflakes Falling" and we produced a professional version of the song that Katherine and her fellow students Emma Appleby and Bella Rutkowsky sang. We turned that into a video for our YouTube channel and so far over 150 listeners have enjoyed Katherine's song.

On a personal professional note, I had a big year. In the Spring I released "Shape Shifter" an album of six modern jazz originals I recorded with a simply fantastic group, and in August I recorded "Early Summer Evening" an album of Brazilian influenced jazz originals at Brookdale Community College, where I also teach and also with an amazing group of musicians. I played and performed more in 2023 than I think I have in any other year - making some really great memories and playing for some really great audiences.

I said all that to say this - I couldn't do it without our great teachers and we couldn't do it without you, the families who have been a part of our School, now and since it all began in 2003.

So here's to all of you from all of us for the absolute best in 2024!

As always, committed to making our School the best it can be,

Studio Director, Jim Josselyn


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