Blues News

KTBA Updates Music Library at Rahway High School

RAHWAY, NJ – Thanks to your donations, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation was able to donate new music literature to the music program at Rahway High School in Rahway, New Jersey!

Mr. Van Wyk and his highly-motivated students posing for a selfie!

Every music program needs variety in their repertoire to keep students engaged. The musical compositions give students a real-life, applicable opportunity to exercise different technical aspects of their playing. They also expose students to new composers and musical styles. However, it can be difficult to keep up with purchasing new compositions on such small or non-existent budgets for music programs. Fortunately, it only takes one ambitious and passionate music teacher to to bring music to life for those students.

The Music Teacher at Rahway High School, Mr. Robert Van Wyk tells us more about his particular music classroom:

“My students create a family at our school. We are a performing arts family (bands, choirs, strings, theatre, and dance) that support each other on the stage, in the classroom, and beyond. We are a NJ high school, just outside NYC, servicing a multicultural population of students from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. We strongly believe that the arts can instill positive change, transform, inspire, and change lives.”

At Rahway High School, the music program serves as a powerful unifying activity for the students of the school.

Mr. Van Wyk conducting one of his many ensembles.

“We are going to build this program over a strong foundation and proud history and generations of art students,” Mr. Van Wyk explains. “My students are extremely motivated. They are eager and love creating music together. As a department, nine of our seniors have gone on to major in music/performance/musical theatre over the past two years.

This collection of music books [would] provide much-needed resources for our classroom library as our students prepare for auditions and develop into achieving, well-rounded performers. These tools [would] support our mission to increase student achievement, spread the importance of arts education in our community, and highlight our student performers as the diverse and dynamic young people that they are.”

Thanks to the generous donations from music lovers and Blues fans, KTBA was able to complete the fundraising for Mr. Van Wyk’s music library project.

Mr. Van Wyk expresses his gratitude:

Dear Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Inc.,

Thank you so much for providing these books for our students. It will be an awesome resource as we continue to grow through this school year and beyond. We are so appreciative of your generosity and kindness towards our Rahway kids. Please follow us @wearerahwayarts so that you can see these tools in action. Thank you!

With gratitude,
Mr. Van Wyk


Stay tuned for our next Donation of the Week coming up on Friday December 10th, 2021!

Thank you for helping us keep the blues alive and keep music education in schools!


About Mr. Robert Van Wyk

Robert M. Van Wyk has been a music teacher at Rahway High School for the past 25 years. A graduate of the Ithaca College School of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM), Mr. Van Wyk has dedicated his professional career to the advancement of the arts and building a quality arts education within the Rahway Public Schools. Mr. Van Wyk is a two time Rahway High School Teacher of the Year.

As past Director of the award winning Rahway High School Bands program, Mr. Van Wyk has guided ensembles to numerous awards including two NJ State Championships, students achieving participation in Region and All State level ensembles and selected for numerous performances in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. As musical director for the award winning, Rahway High School Musical Theater, Mr. Van Wyk and his ensembles have been nominated for Best Overall Music Direction, Best Chorus, Best Pit Orchestra and Best Overall Musical by the Papermill Playhouse Rising Star Awards.

As a professional musician, Mr. Van Wyk has performed with jazz artists such as Phil Woods, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bucky and John Pizzarelli. He has performed and recorded with Joseph Alessi and Phillip Smith of the New York Philharmonic.

Check out Mr. Van Wyk’s last recording with Imperial Brass here.

Mr. Van Wyk is a devoted husband of 20 years to Amara Van Wyk (Band Director at the Rahway 7th/8th Grade Academy) and a proud father of two.

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