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Newark Boys Chorus School Gets New Tech Hub Lab


Investigative Reporter - Local News

Published September 16, 2017

Newark Boys Chorus School goes high-tech with help from community partner Horizon.

Students at Newark Boys Chorus School (NBCS) got their first look today at a new state-of-the-art Tech Hub Lab with a gala ribbon-cutting event held at the private middle school in downtown Newark.

Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, Newark Boys Chorus School Head of School Richard Willet, Horizon representatives and an NBCS student at the opening of the school's Tech Hub Lab Photo Credit: Elana Knopp

The lab is the culmination of months of hard work and planning that turned an empty space into a room filled with high-tech equipment that will help launch the school into the 21st century.

Newark Boys Chorus School hosted Horizon representatives and Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins at today's ribbon-cutting event to launch the school's new Tech Hub Lab

Photo Credit: Elana Knopp

Newark Boys Chorus School students join Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and Horizon representatives at today's grand reveal of the school's new Tech Hub Lab

Photo Credit: Elana Knopp

Founded in 1969, NBCS provides a comprehensive, performance-based music program, along with a core academic curriculum.

The school’s music program begins with the Apprentice Chorus program for fourth and fifth grades, with students moving on to Concert Chorus in sixth through eighth grades.

The choruses join together each year to present the holiday concert in December and spring concert in early June. With a diversified repertoire that includes classical music, spirituals, folk music and jazz, the choruses have performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, as well as the White House and cathedrals throughout Europe.

The new lab now boasts five fully-equipped Apple Mac computers and Chromecast media-streaming devices, all provided by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. A 55-inch high-definition flat screen Smart TV and wall mount, donated by Wal-Mart, completes the tech space.

Roughly 30 Horizon employees invested their time and ingenuity to the project, completing the space in less than two months and personally donating many of the needed materials, including drywall, paint supplies, carpet tiles and artwork.

NBCS Head of School Richard Willet was joined by Horizon representatives and Newark Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins for the grand reveal.

“It took a lot of work and a lot of volunteers to put this Tech Hub Lab together and it’s led to a lot of success,” Willett said. “I think we have formed community with the people of Horizon who worked on this project, and that will continue and last a long time and that’s what this is really all about.”

Chaneyfield Jenkins said the time and investment put in by Horizon was immeasurable.

“This is what corporate giving is all about,” she said. “This is a great day for the outstanding students and teachers at the Newark Boys Chorus School. Integrating technology in the classroom keeps students engaged and invested in their education. I thank Horizon for recognizing the importance of that and helping make this new Tech Hub Lab a reality.”

Inside the lab, approximately 20 NBCS students gathered to present their own video to the assembled crowd. In the video, the boys thanked Horizon for their generosity and for giving them hope.

Chaneyfield Jenkins, who visited the new lab, suggested to the students that they Google Aretha Franklin’s 1998 Grammy performance of “Nessun Dorma” on their new computers, urging them to watch and listen to Franklin, who filled in for opera great Luciano Pavarotti that evening years ago.

“Now that’s opera sung with soul,” she told the boys.

Horizon Senior Vice President and Information Officer Douglass Blackwell said the company was excited to be a part of the initiative.

“At this time last year the room was bare, but today it’s a high-tech facility that will enable Newark Boys Chorus School students to not only stay on par with their peers across the country, but also to flourish in a fuller, more rewarding educational environment,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have been a part of this project right here in the city that Horizon calls home.”

Chaneyfield Jenkins thanked NBCS for their music ambassadorship.

“Newark truly is a community but it’s only a sustainable ecosystem if we all work together,” she said.

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