Musician James A. Norkawich Celebrates The 30Th Anniversary ...| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 08 August 2022 07:52 GMT

Musician James A. Norkawich Celebrates The 30Th Anniversary Of The Regional Center For The Arts, And Announces Rebranding And New Support For The Program'


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GLASTONBURY, Conn., Aug. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The principles of music education are immense and highly beneficial to students. Music positively impacts a child's academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to a child's development. Music education catapults a child's learning to new heights, and because of this, it should always be considered a pivotal part of a child's educational process.

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In 1991, James A. Norkawich was introduced to a program called Regional Center for the arts (RCA). RCA was a multicultural program in southwestern Connecticut that was comprised of five towns in Fairfield County. As part of the normal high school day, students attended the University of Bridgeport where they experienced working with industry professionals, professors and choreographers from NYC. The program provided high school students the opportunity to earn college credits while learning more about their craft in either Music or Dance.

The RCA was led by its Director, Kevin Mack, who served the musical community as a conductor, singer, and player of historical keyboard and woodwind instruments. A native 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 has been a pupil of Robert Shaw, Roger Wagner, Arthur Weisberg, Allen Forte, Claude Palisca, and David Diamond. To further compliment his teaching effectiveness, Kevin completed a certification program in Music given by the Connecticut Department of Education at Wesleyan University. Kevin Mack was the individual that made RCA happen.

James was part of the Music department which was led by Brian Q. Torff, American jazz double-bassist, songwriter, and composer as well as professor of music at Fairfield University in Fairfield Connecticut. James also studied under Joseph Mennona, multi-instrumentalist, and director of MIDI composition at RCA at that time.

In 1992, James worked with his fellow students from different backgrounds, styles and ideas. The beauty of the RCA was that it provided a safe place for students to come together from different backgrounds, learn about one another, learn each other's own story, which eventually propelled them to create one sound. 

The RCA provided James with a real-world taste of what a musical craft could offer. He gained invaluable experience attending and performing in numerous concerts, musical performances, and television performances. In 1992, at the age of 16, James and his fellow band mates opened up for Milli Bermejo at the Quick Center for the arts theatre. It was that pivotal performance which resulted in future funding for the RCA program and ultimately transformed James from a student of Jazz to a Jazz artist.

In 2022, James released the original re-mastered recording to show where his roots began, and also to convey what a program such as the RCA can do for students in today's educational system. Norkawich says 'Music has taken a back seat to sports programs and other programs of specialized interest, therefore not giving a voice to those who are trained and proficient in their instrument.' He goes on further to say that programs like the RCA model work and he is taking his brand of Jazz and Classical Crossover music with the hope of getting it in the schools in his community, just as he had it available to him over 30 years ago.

Music is the soundtrack of our lives – this is the mantra that James lives by. Now that we are post-pandemic, people create music which is original, and they need to be heard. Their voices can make an impact on this world in a musical culture which is stagnant or run by management or labels. People now have to ability for the first time ever to produce things organically and market their creations on social media.

Norkawich is currently in talks with people in his hometown and state representatives to explore whether a program like RCA could be re-branded and expanded elsewhere in Connecticut in 2022/2023.

The Regional Center is now a part of Cooperative Education Services in Trumbull Connecticut and boasts a full-on campus for students, staff and faculty. As James looks back upon his early 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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