Special Programs

The Johnny Mercer Foundation

As legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer put it: "You've got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive."

And that's exactly what NJPAC and the Johnny Mercer Foundation are achieving together in a partnership that fosters the arts of composing and music-making in New Jersey middle schools. mercer-thumb.jpgThe pilot program was set in place for the 2012-2013 term at four schools in Newark, East Orange and Jersey City, engaging approxiamately 100 middle-school students. These musical theater residencies allow NJPAC Teaching Artists to introduce students to the history of the American musical, lyric writing and the rehearsal and performance process. Each residency meets twice weekly for 20 sessions.

All these exercises in creativity and self-expression conform to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and culminate in a rousing performance by the students at NJPAC. 

Founded in 1983, the Johnny Mercer Foundation supports the art of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook, as exemplified by Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), the renowned songwriter, performer, collaborator and producer. The foundation celebrates his legacy through partnerships with individuals and organizations dedicated to nurturing the disciplines he mastered and causes he championed with his wife, Ginger.

Click here to read more about the foundation and its collaboration with NJPAC Arts Eduacation.

The Sarah Vaughan Jazz Vocal Residency

Sarah Vaughan is known around the world as the singer who transformed America’s original art form, elevated the craft of jazz vocal music and garnered the respect and adoration of millions. But once upon a time, she was just another high school student, walking the halls of Arts High School in Newark, NJ.

sarah_vaughan.jpgInspired by the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition held at NJPAC each year, select female students of Sarah Vaughan’s alma mater will participate in this eight-week residency.  Students will develop their own vocal talents by strengthening technique and stage presence. The well-rounded residency also includes an in-depth exploration of the history of Sarah Vaughan’s life and career, connects students to professional artist experiences, and culminates in a performance at NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education.

Piloted in 2012, the Sarah Vaughan Jazz Vocal Residency is generously supported by the President’s Fund for Community Engagement.

This residency conforms to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts.

Click here for more information about the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition.

NJPAC Technical Theater Residency at North 13th Street Vocational Technical School

This season, NJPAC is partnering with Essex County Vocational Technical Schools to implement a new Technical Theater Residency at North 13th Street Technical High School in Newark.

Ninth-grade students at North 13th Street Tech will work with NJPAC production specialists and teaching artists to learn about the various areas of technical theater, including lighting, sound, stage management and production.

The two-month residency kicked off with a two-day event on the stages of NJPAC on December 2 and 3, 2013. At this event, students were given an overview of the various technical theater areas and had the opportunity to talk with NJPAC production staff in a hands-on setting. 

At the kick-off event, the students rotated between six "stations," including:  lighting/electrics, sound, carpentry, production/back of house, front of house/box office and an administrative panel.  The panel included representatives from various departments within NJPAC, including marketing, development, social media and programming.

The residency takes place at North 13th Street Tech from January through May 2014.

At the conclusion of the residency, the students will be featured in two culminating performances of scenes and monologues, one at the school and one at NJPAC.

This residency conforms to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts.