Meet Kristy Jung
"The Select Choir is one of Brooklyn High School of the Arts most advanced choirs, made up of mostly junior and senior vocal majors. Our collaboration with RCP was quite serendipitous. When the first marking period in school was about to end, I was looking for a project that focuses on amplifying students' voice and decided that I wanted to teach the choir how to write songs. Songwriting is not usually a project that is taken on by traditional choirs, but because of the pandemic, I wanted a project that gave students a platform to connect with others, as well as themselves.
About 2-weeks before I started the project, I received a message from Preeti, a friend and artist who I have worked with for many years before when we were both a part of Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Connect program. Knowing about my love for culture and the arts, she introduced me to the Red Curtain Project and I immediately fell in love with the stories and performances on the site. When I saw how illustrations were being drawn to the stories and music being composed, I thought, "well, my kids can do that!". And so, the proposal to have my students interpret stories from around the world began.
When we started the project, a lot of students were fearful about songwriting. For most, this is their first time writing a full fledged piece, building everything from text to accompaniment, and creating melodies that all combine into a song that tells a story. It was surely a huge task, but broken up into parts, the students ran with their idea and imagination. I think in the end not only were they able to connect with the stories on a cultural aspect, but grew to become better musicians and story-tellers."
As a choral director at Brooklyn HS of the Arts (BHSA) and a music educator of 15 years, I have dedicated my pedagogy to implementing student-driven projects and performances while teaching students to become well-rounded musicians. Being able to help young learners make connections with themselves and the world around them through music has always been the driving force behind my teaching. I also passionately believe that any program I teach should bring culture, creation, and an inclusive repertoire to the forefront. Throughout my career as an educator, I have held multiple positions in the NYC education system, including music director, musical theater director, and was the leader of the arts department before landing my dream job as a choir director and music theory teacher at BHSA. In addition to my life in the classroom, I was also the Music Coordinator and Liaison to Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Connect Program for many years and am currently serving on the Board of Advisory for Circle World Arts.