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POWER OF MUSIC ED: East Orange Cicely Tyson High School Band Thrives, Inspires at Rutgers University

East Orange

GenceptzBy: Richard L. Smith 

The Cicely Tyson High School band, renowned for its dedication and musical prowess, continues to reach new heights as they were invited to participate in an all-day Band clinic at Rutgers University Mason Gross School for the Performing and Fine Arts.

The event took place on November 29, 2023, at the Douglass campus and was an incredible experience for the young musicians.

Led by Dean Jason Geary, Mason Gross School is known for its commitment to nurturing emerging talent.


Dr. Maureen Hurd-Hause, the Associate Director and Head of Woodwind, along with Tod Nichols, Director of Bands at Rutgers, played gracious hosts to the Cicely Tyson School students.

During the clinic, students had the opportunity to participate in master classes, receive valuable lessons, and showcase their musical talents.

The highlight of the day was a performance critique by the esteemed Rutgers University Music faculty.


The faculty's insights will be instrumental as the Cicely Tyson students prepare for their upcoming competition in April 2024 at the World Strides and Heritage Festivals in Chicago.

To fund their trip to the competition, the students are actively seeking additional support. A GoFundMe page will be set up to help them achieve their goal.

Dr. Oscar Petty Jr., a graduate of Rutgers University, expressed the importance of fully funding arts programs in schools. He emphasized that investing in the arts can steer young minds away from negative influences, saying, "I'd rather see a clarinet, flute, oboe, saxophone, or violin in the hands of a young person than anything harmful."


Dr. Petty passionately advocates that performing and fine arts programs across the nation should never face budget cuts, as they play a crucial role in shaping a vibrant and cohesive society.

This year marks Dr. Petty's 33rd year as a public school music educator and director, and he continues to be a driving force behind the success of the Cicely Tyson High School band.

The event at Rutgers University was a testament to the power of music and the importance of nurturing young artistic talent through partnerships. 

East Orange Tyson