By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Music has always played an important role in Jack Corbett’s life, and now his love of music is being shared as he transitions from student to educator.
Corbett, a 2010 Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) and UMass Amherst graduate is also the third generation of his family to grow up in Northborough.
Corbett was always surrounded by music as a kid.
“My parents always had CDs and records to play a variety of music,” he said. “We always had great music playing in the house.”
Some of that great music featured bass players and Corbett’s ear was automatically drawn to the sound of the low music tones.
A string instrument presentation at an elementary school assembly that featured the cello, violin and viola tugged at his interest again, especially when the “Star Wars” theme was played.
The elementary school started its first string program when Corbett was in third grade and he learned to play the cello. Through middle school and high school he continued to be a part of the jazz band and orchestra playing electric bass and the contrabass. He decided to pursue his passion for music and earned his bachelor’s degree in music education at UMass.
Corbett is currently working on his master’s degree at Ithaca College in New York and is in his third year teaching general music for grades K-5 in Framingham.
“We are lucky that Central Mass. supports and provides great arts programs,” Corbett said.
He feels that Northborough and Southborough have high quality music departments, especially at the high school level, and feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience that level of music instruction as a young student.
Sharing his passion for music as a teacher comes naturally to Corbett. In addition to teaching in Framingham, he also is a conductor with the Worcester Youth Orchestras (WYO). The WYO was founded in 1947 and is the third-oldest youth orchestra in the country. It offers musical training and orchestral experiences for students from over 60 towns and 70 schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Ironically, when Corbett first applied for the position at WYO, he didn’t realize that Jonathan Brennand, a former UMass orchestra teacher assistant who he met while a freshman, was the artistic and executive director. Brennand is responsible for expanding the programs at WYO over the last few years.
Northborough resident Stacey Lin’s oldest son Zach has been a part of the WYO programs for two years; the first under the direction of Corbett. Zach plays clarinet and bass clarinet.
“Jack is a wonderful guy; fabulous with the kids,” said Lin. “Zach loves it there as much for the learning and experience as for the friendships of other young musicians.”
There is an audition process for WYO and rehearsals are typically two to three hours long with the expectation of outside practice. Auditions for the 2017-2018 season, which will be the WYO’s 70th season, will be held in May 2017.
Corbett said that the students are quite talented and have a high level of commitment and dedication.
He encourages parents to bring their children to see live performances of any genre of music.
His advice for kids just being introduced to musical instruments is to approach the band teacher with their interest to play a particular instrument.
The band teacher will have a good sense of what is needed to play certain instruments successfully, such as arm length or lip shape.
“Success is based on a variety of factors,” said Corbett. “Playing an instrument is not an easy task and necessitates discipline. Like with everything you do, practice the skills and give your best effort.”