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Leading by Example: P.S. 76 Band Plays for Peers at P.S. 38

This spring the P.S. 76 concert band, comprised of nearly 100 fifth-grade students, traveled from the Bronx to East Harlem to perform for the student body and staff at P.S. 38.

An ETM partner school since 2005, P.S. 76 added an elective band ensemble to its weekly in-school curriculum two years ago. As with all ETM elective ensembles, the P.S. 76 band is open to every interested student, regardless of musical skill or financial constraints. The band at P.S. 76 has experienced great growth in just two years, becoming an impressive force within the school’s culture; the enthusiasm of P.S. 76’s students is infectious.

Aiming to expand and strengthen the younger band program at P.S. 38, which launched just this past fall, ETM scheduled the visit so students from P.S. 38 could witness the talent and energy of their peers from P.S. 76.

After performing some standards, P.S. 76 surprised the crowd by playing an arrangement of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, during which members of the P.S. 38 band were invited to sit on stage with the P.S. 76 musicians. This popular song was not the only thing P.S. 38 students recognized in the program. The P.S. 76 concert band also played Canto and Caprice, a piece that P.S. 38 students had already learned earlier in the year.

The assembly also featured the 18-member jazz ensemble, a subset of the band, whose members commit extra time to master more challenging music as a smaller ensemble. The group played two up-tempo jazz classics and demonstrated their improvisation skills. This year, P.S. 76’s jazz ensemble performed at a school board district meeting, the Bronx Youth Empowerment Program, ETM’s 20th Anniversary Children’s Benefit, and several other community events.

After the performance, the P.S. 38 auditorium was buzzing with excitement. Students in the audience left the assembly energized for the second year of their band program, and students onstage packed up their instruments with pride and a sense of accomplishment. The P.S. 76 band director, Jessica Parr noted, “My students this year went above and beyond any expectations I could have ever made for them. They truly amazed me and taught me so much.”

ETM aims to inspire all of its partner school students to reach their full potential as musicians, thinkers, and individuals. We hope to schedule similar events in the future, so that our partner school students can have the opportunity share with and inspire one another with their talents.