Sunday, June 14, 2015


PMAC's Graduating Seniors.
Photo Courtesy of Enna at Grazier Photography.

Congratulations to PMAC's 2015 High School Graduates!

This year's graduating class has a very special connection to PMAC: they were in Kindergarten when PMAC was founded in 2002. In fact, several were in our very first Kindermusik classes. The Class of 2015 has grown up right alongside us, and we are incredibly proud of their accomplishments! 

Over the past thirteen years our faculty and staff have had the good fortune of working with more than a hundred of these talented students from schools throughout the region. Many were with us every year of their schooling, as PMAC became a important part of their education. We asked several to share their stories, including their future plans are and why they believe a community arts education is important. Here is what they had to say:

What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Having an education in the arts has helped me become a well-rounded human being. I am open-minded and emotional, all thanks to the music!

PMAC Programs: Guitar lessons from 8-14, rock ensemble from 10-14, rock camp from 12-16, various hip-hop workshops at 16.

What's Next?: I will be attending Loyola University Maryland for majors in political science and music!

What does an Arts Education mean to you?: An arts education means that I can learn more about art and artistic culture through visual and auditory tools, such as playing music, painting, and acting. All three of these things personally help me connect with myself, connect with other people, and connect with the community at large. Taking percussion lessons at PMAC has helped me artistically evolve into the person/drummer I am today. 
PMAC Programs: Currently, I take percussion lessons with Jim Rudolph. I have also taken part in one of the PMAC Teen Showcase Events at the facility with a band that I play in. 
What's Next?: Next year, I intend to take a 3-month trip to Costa Rica (beginning in September) to live with a family who my mother and I are both personally close to. This family (as well as the community surrounding them) strive to help enrich the land by growing crops, helping to sustain water levels in nearby rivers, and reaching out to the public about environmentalism, encouraging people to help. After this 3-month adventure, I plan to attend either an immersive acting program or a 4-year or 2-year conservatory. 


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Arts education has given me the tools and abilities to take something which I love and make it a more meaningful and enriching experience.  The ability to take something like music which is already so important to me and explore it under the guidance of those who are not only vastly experienced and knowledgeable but equally passionate in that area is an experience unlike any other.  It has given me a gift that I will always cherish and be able to apply to my life wherever I go.

PMAC Programs: Piano, Music Theory, Summer Rock Band, Summer Jazz Band

What's Next?: I currently plan to attend Grinnell College in Iowa with a major in Chemistry and a second major or a minor in Music.


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: To me, an arts education means not only developing a specific skill - such as an instrument, vocals, or visual arts - but also fostering a mindset of creativity and intellectual curiosity. My arts education introduced me to music at a young age, ignited my passion to learn various instruments both in school and at PMAC, and taught me a different way of thinking and approaching problems besides the skills developed through traditional academics. 

PMAC Programs: I began my music education at PMAC with the Kindermusik program, and in first grade I began piano lessons, which I still take today. Highlights of my experience at PMAC included performing a "piano four hands" piece with Max Grazier and playing piano for a saxophone/vocals/piano trio.

What's Next?: Next year I will begin studying Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University.


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: An arts education means learning about and enjoying different modes of visual and auditory expression. The arts have impacted my life by giving me a creative lens from which to view the world. 

PMAC Programs: I studied cello at PMAC and participated in the Bow Street Junior Ensemble and Bow Street Youth Orchestra for five years. I also attended a Summer Jazz Camp. 

What's Next?: 
Ithaca College for Film Studies. I plan on becoming a screenwriter and director. 


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Studying at PMAC has vastly improved my music reading and playing ability. I'm able to improvise much better in jazz songs and can fit chords into rock songs easily. I have gained so many life long friends from participating in music and I know I will always use music in my life somehow.

PMAC Programs: I studied Jazz Band and Rock Band for multiple years. I played alto sax and tenor in jazz band and alto or piano in rock band. I did the summer jazz band once that performed at Prescott park. I loved all the programs I participated in and loved the instructors.  

What's Next?: Next year I will be attending the University of New Hampshire to major in bioengineering. 


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Arts education is a great outlet for me, and has helped me develop my guitar playing skills for years, turning a hobby into a passion.  I love playing my guitar today, and learning about music opens my mind to a new realm of creativity and allows me to escape my life and channel my feelings into music.  PMAC has molded me into the guitar player I am today, transforming guitar from a difficult instrument to something I truly connect with.

PMAC Programs: I have studied guitar at PMAC for ten years with Chris Weisman, Brian Bergeron, and most recently, Nick Phaneuf.  I also participated in numerous Rock ensembles through the years beginning with the first Junior Rock Band PMAC offered. Through these ensembles, I played at the Press Room each winter and spring and at Prescott Park for the summer Rock camps.  One of my favorite experiences at PMAC was interning for the Junior Rock Band when I was a freshman in high school. I had a blast working with the younger kids and helping them learn to play together.  My biggest regret was not having time to intern again, and breaking my arm twice keeping me off my guitar for several months. 

What's Next?: I will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall and study engineering or math.  I look forward to being active in the Dartmouth music scene in any way I can.  


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: An education in the arts educates my whole self. The Arts are where all disciplines come together, and in the arts I can apply all my interests and channel them into my work. Arts education is an integral part of who I have become and who I am working to be; it defines me.

PMAC Programs: I have participated in the Youth Jazz Combo at PMAC, where I have played at charity benefit auctions, the Press Room, and several other events where jazz was needed!

What's Next?: Next year I will be going to Colby College in Waterville, Maine. I am undecided in my major, but am leaning toward education and am positive that I will be participating in a jazz group of some sort as well.


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Learning to play the piano at PMAC expanded my piano skills in a challenging and enjoyable way. Playing the piano has been a welcome outlet of artistic expression outside my traditional high school education.

PMAC Programs: Piano with Mike Effenberger.

What's Next?: I am off to Bowdoin to study sciences but as it is a liberal arts college I am interested in studying the arts as well.


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: An arts education has meant an opportunity for me to grow as a person, musician, and leader. Through my involvement at PMAC, I established myself as a member of a community of developing musicians throughout the Seacoast. My involvement in the arts provided me leadership opportunities such as  teaching 5th grade band students, interning with PMAC Rock Bands, and coordinating the Teen Music Showcase program.  I moved from being the student to being the teacher and a leader. One of my proudest moments was watching the Jr. Rock band I mentored, Loaf of Meatloaf, rock out on the stage at the Press Room.

PMAC Programs: Studied guitar with Nick Phaneuf for 3 years, Jr. Rock Band, Teen Rock Band, Selected for Singer/Songwriter workshop, Performer: Music Hall Singer/Songwriter showcase, Jr. Rock Band Intern , Coordinator: Teen Music Showcase, Portsmouth High School Service Learning Volunteer at PMAC

What's next?: Next year, I will attend Goucher College in Towson, MD. My plan is to major in communications with a concentration in public relations. I hope to one day assist a non-profit arts organization promote and acquire financial support for their mission. My experiences as part of PMAC, the Seacoast art community, and the Portsmouth School District have shown me how lucky I am to have grown up in a community that cares deeply about art education for all.

What does an Arts Education mean to you?: Arts education has always been the fun way of education to me. It combines aspects of academics with the creative nature academics lack. I have been so affected by arts education that I relate everything I learn to music. I would not be the same person I am now without an arts education

PMAC Programs: I've studied a lot of different instruments at PMAC and taken a lot of different classes. I started taking piano at age 6, picking up guitar at age 8. Before then, I performed in chamber ensembles, and participated in the conservatory programs. I've stuck studying guitar for the past 10 years at PMAC. I also took 3 years of drum lessons and a took a few saxophone lessons. I studied theory under Mike Effenberger as well. When I was 8-9, I also joined the Rock programs here, in which I participated for around 8 years. I joined the Jazz program, which I still do to this day. I was the first ever rock intern for the rock ensemble programs. I also studied recording engineering, which I plan to continue for the future. Currently, I study jazz guitar under Jim Dozet, and study voice under Taylor O'Donnell

What's Next?: I plan on attending Berklee College of Music on a full tuition scholarship this fall to study Recording Engineering and Songwriting.


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: My years at PMAC have been very important for me because it has inspired in me a deep love for music and the arts. Music has become my coping mechanism and stress reliever. My time spent performing and listening to music is some of the most precious to me, and I always look forward to playing my saxophone every day or just simply sitting down and listening to a great album.

PMAC Programs: At PMAC I started piano lessons at around 5 years old and saxophone lessons at 12. I have been an active part of the Youth Jazz Band for nearly 6 years, and I have also been a part of various other jazz bands, volunteer groups, and summer programs throughout my many years at PMAC.

What's Next?: Next year I will be attending Swarthmore College and hopefully studying religion and history. I will be continuing music through ensembles on campus as well as hopefully attending many concerts in the Philadelphia are!


What does an Arts Education mean to you?: An education in the arts has profoundly impacted my life. All forms of music education I've received have influenced me to become a greater performer and musician, and to be a better person. Music education has taught me dedication and the values of hard work.

PMAC Programs: I did rock camp for one year, took my first piano lessons that started everything when I was 8. I've done jazz band and and the singer songwriter classes.

What's Next?: Right now, my plans for next year are to go to college for music. I will be attending Berklee College Of Music this Fall.

To the Class of 2015 - Thank you so much for believing in us as much as we have always believed in you. We congratulate you as you go on to leave your positive, creative and innovative imprint on the rest of the world!