GLASTONBURY, Conn., 5 August2022 /PRNewswire/ — The principles of music education are immense and very beneficial to students. Music has a positive impact on a child’s academic performance, helps develop social skills and provides an outlet for creativity which is crucial for a child’s development. Music education catapults a child’s learning to new heights, and for this reason, it should always be considered an essential part of a child’s educational process.
In 1991, James A. Norkawich was introduced to a program called Regional Arts Center (RCA). RCA was a multicultural program in the southwest Connecticut which was made up of five towns in Fairfield County. As part of the normal high school day, students attended the University of Bridgeport where they worked with industry professionals, teachers and choreographers from New York. The program offered high school students the opportunity to earn college credit while learning more about their craft in music or dance.
The RCA was led by its director, Kevin Mac, who has served the musical community as a conductor, singer, and player of historic keyboard and wind instruments. A native of San Franciscan, Kevin earned degrees in Conducting, Vocal Performance, and English-Philosophy from University of the Pacific, Yale University, the Juilliard school, and the Hartt School. He was a student of Robert Shaw, Roger Wagner, Arthur Weisberg, Allen Forte, Claude Palisqueand David Diamond. To further complement his teaching effectiveness, Kevin completed a music certification program provided by the Connecticut Department of Education at Wesleyan University. Kevin Mac was the individual who made RCA a reality.
James was part of the music department headed by Brian Q. TorffAmerican jazz double bass player, songwriter and songwriter as well as music teacher at Fairfield University in Fairfield Connecticut. James also studied under Joseph Mennonamulti-instrumentalist and MIDI composition director at RCA at this time.
In 1992, James worked with his fellow students from different backgrounds, styles and ideas. The beauty of RCA was that it provided a safe place where students from different backgrounds came together, learned from each other, learned each other’s own story, which ultimately inspired them to create a sound.
The RCA provided James with a real taste of what a musical profession could offer. He gained invaluable experience by attending and performing in numerous concerts, musical performances and television performances. In 1992, at the age of 16, James and his bandmates opened for Milli Bermejo at the Quick Center for the arts theatre. It was this pivotal performance that resulted in future funding for the RCA program and ultimately transformed James from a jazz student to a jazz artist.
In 2022, James released the original remastered recording to show where his roots began, and also to convey what a program like RCA can do for students in today’s education system. Norkawich says “music has taken precedence over sports and other specialist interest programs, thus not giving a voice to those who are trained and proficient in their instrument.” He goes on to say that programs like the RCA model work and he’s taking his brand of jazz and classical music Crossover with hopes of getting it into schools in his community, just as he had it available to him he over 30 years ago. .
Music is the soundtrack of our lives – it’s the mantra by which James lives. Now that we are post-pandemic, people are creating original music and they need to be heard. Their voices can impact this world in a music culture that is stagnant or driven by managers or labels. People now have the ability, for the first time, to produce things organically and market their creations on social media.
Norkawich is currently in talks with residents of its hometown and state officials to determine whether a program like RCA could be renamed and expanded elsewhere in Connecticut in 2022/2023.
The Regional Center is now part of the Cooperative Education Services of Trumbull Connecticut and has a full campus for students, staff, and faculty. As James looks back on his first introduction to music, he is grateful for the opportunity to attend RCA and is proud to be an inaugural member of the class of 1993.
To view the 1992 RCA concert on Spotify, click here.
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THE SOURCE James A. Norkawich