Thursday, February 27, 2014
1. Tell us about how music has shaped your life. When did you realize you wanted to become a music educator?
Music was an area in which I excelled at an early age. I was blessed with a great elementary school music teacher, Rodney Somerville, at Lincoln School in Cranford, N.J. This was about 1974, and he was the first African-American music teacher in the district.
I was 8 years old and music helped me to become more focused because at the time I was easily distracted. Mr. Somerville’s enthusiasm for singing piqued my interest in music and he helped me uncover something I didn’t know I could do. From that point on, the performing arts have always been a part of my life, be it musical theatre, dance or voice.
I realized I wanted to be a music educator in high school. There was a sense of belonging and a commitment to excellence in the choral group. There was never a stranger in chorus and my music classes were always fun places to be. I wanted to cultivate that same kind of atmosphere for others. Because of that school district’s commitment to teaching music, I was able to hone my skills and receive a four-year scholarship to Westminster College in Princeton, N.J.