Teacher nurtures the greening of MCS’ music program

When Julian Greening arrived on Saipan last year, he was eager to bring his passion for music to Mount Carmel School, which had committed to reviving its music program by hiring him.

Greening came to the school with an extensive background in music—a bachelor’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and the university’s prestigious Music Talent Award. He went on to teach band and music at several schools throughout Japan, and has also performed around the world in dozens of musical productions, including Fiddler on the Roof, Singing in the Rain, and South Pacific. He also performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of H. Robert Reynolds, the principal conductor of the wind ensemble for the University of Southern California, and even performed with the alt-punk band Weezer during their 2008 North American tour.

Greening said he was born and raised in Japan “but since music is a universal language, it helped connect with people when I studied in the U.S.”

Since coming to the school, Greening has launched a rigorous program that includes classes and after-school practice almost every day of the week. The program includes students from the 5th grade to seniors, and even some faculty members. Through these classes and practices, Greening and the student musicians prepare for numerous performances, including the school’s annual Christmas program and the Spring Band Concert. Greening is also working with the school’s Theatre Club and local musicians to perform in the club’s upcoming musical, Tasi.

Greening’s drive is having an impact on his students. Miyuki Takayama, currently a 7th grader at the school, began her music experiences last year after wanting to try something new. After joining the program, Takayama believes she gained insightful lessons such as learning to be committed to doing something you love. “I learned to play something different even though it takes up a lot of my time, and I have fun with other members of the program.”

She recommends the music program for anyone interested in music and is patient enough to become committed.

Another student of the music program, Eunkyu “Joey” Hong from 7th grade, is optimistic with expanding his musical skills. Though he had played the violin for years, Hong joined the program only last year to try woodwind instruments. “It was interesting to learn different kinds of music and exciting to play to get better at it.” Hong looks forward to expanding his range of musical instruments by learning other types of music like percussion.

Hong also is thankful that the program lets him bond with those of the same interest. “It’s really nice that we can hang out with other groups of people with the same interest.”

Many look forward to the future of Mount Carmel School’s music program. Jan Bobadilla, a senior and more experienced musician, is optimistic. “I look forward to hearing the sound of our band develop, and I believe Mr. Greening can make that happen.”

Greening hopes to inspire more students to enjoy music and grow their talent. He hopes that students will receive the same exposure to music as he did, so that they may be inspired to delve into the study and practice of music. “Music is our universal language, so we can all learn how to speak it.” (PR)

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