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Mount Carmel School’s music program

WHEN Julian Greening arrived on Saipan last year, he was eager to bring his passion for music to the school, which committed to reviving its music program by hiring Greening.

Greening came to the school with an extensive background in music. Greening earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and was awarded the university’s prestigious Music Talent Award upon graduating. Afterwards, he went on to teach band and music at several schools throughout Japan. Greening 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.

When asked about his lifelong commitment to music, Greening said, “I was born and raised in Japan, but since music a universal language, it helped connect with people when I studied in the U.S.” He added, “Music helps us connect with people.”

Mount Carmel School’s Band gathers for a photo during one of their recent band practices.Mount Carmel School’s Band gathers for a photo during one of their recent band practices.

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 with the program. Though he previously played the violin for years, Hong joined the program last year to try woodwind instruments. After joining the program, he said, “It was interesting to learn different kinds of music and exciting to play to get better at it.” Joshua looks forward to expanding his range of musical instruments by learning other types of music like percussion.

Mount Carmel School Music Program Director Julian Greening conducts the school’s band during its first public concert, the Spring Band Concert, which was held back in May.  MCS photosMount Carmel School Music Program Director Julian Greening conducts the school’s band during its first public concert, the Spring Band Concert, which was held back in May. MCS photos

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 for the music program. “I look forward to hearing the sound of our band develop, and I believe Mr. Greening can make that happen.”

Greening hopes his program will inspire more students to enjoy music and grow their musical 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.”