The Bayonne High School Guitar Ensemble is flying high in only its second year of existence.
The ensemble, which offers Guitar 1, 2, and 3 classes in classical guitar, has received various accolades since its charter year in 2016.
The recent achievements by the ensemble include being selected to master class with the renowned guitar faculty at NJCU in 2016, being awarded top honors at the Hudson County Teen Arts Festival, receiving a distinguished rating (the highest rating) at the NJ State Teen Arts Festival and winning first place/superior rating at the Music in the Parks Festival in Six Flags and Hershey Park.
Much of this success is due to the ensemble’s teacher, Vincent Downes. A professional guitarist, Downes founded the school’s ensemble.
“I can’t say I am surprised by the success my students have achieved because I see how hard they work every single day,” Downes said. “It is incredible to see a student become passionate about music … when they dedicate themselves, practice really hard, and understand what it means to play music expressively and communicate emotion through their performance with their peers and to an audience. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Downes’ impact on the program is shown in the success of his students, as many of his seniors have been accepted into prestigious programs such as Philadelphia University of the Arts and have received various individual accolades.
In fact, over the past two years eight of Downes’ students have been selected to participate in the NJMEA All State Honors Guitar Ensemble.
The Guitar Ensemble is quickly gaining popularity at Bayonne High School. With more than 100 students involved in the program each year, the ensemble has established itself as one of the top programs for guitar education in New Jersey.