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Monica Wilson-Roach

Teaching Artist (Strings)

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Monica was the heart and soul of ESYO's original outreach efforts which began over two decades ago, providing free, weekly lessons to economically challenged students in Schenectady, Albany and Troy. In her role as CHIME's Master Teaching Artist, Monica will continue to teach lessons during the school day, but will add daily rehearsals with the CHIME orchestra at Proctors to her duties. In addition to being a conductor, Monica is a cellist, composer and arranger. She has played the cello for over 40 years and has been in the ESYO family since 1980. She was on faculty at the Juilliard School of Music in the educational outreach Music Advancement Program, finishing her time there as Department Head of Cello. While in New York City she took full advantage of the music centered opportunities including Broadway pit orchestra experience with "Footloose" the musical as well as many studio recordings. Once Monica moved back to the Capital District she realized she could bring her educational outreach experience to this area. She began substituting for Ellen Rodemacher in the original Inner City Violin program at Arbor Hill Elementary school in Albany. Once Ms. Rodemacher left the area, Monica proposed taking the program to the middle school level and opening it up to all strings. It became the Inner City Strings and began at Phillip Livingston Middle School. From there ESYO has expanded to program to City Strings then City Instruments in Albany and Schenectady and has blossomed into CHIME. Monica has taught in the program along the entire journey. She was awarded a Congressional Proclamation for Teaching Excellence from Congressman Paul Tonko in conjunction with a recognition ceremony from ESYO.
In addition to her ESYO duties, Monica has had an extensive performance career as well. She has performed in the Texaco New York Jazz Festival, the Documenta X in Kessel, Germany, the Jazz and Bluesfest - Live from Wolftrap, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music performances of Donald Byrd's Jazztrain as Musical Director with Grammy Award winning artist, Vernon Reid. She has also written and recorded string arrangements for films including "Ali" starring Will Smith, "Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners", "The Main", and "Though A Lens Darkly", featured at Sundance and recipient of the NAACP award. Monica was a featured speaker on the WMHT program "WMHT Talks Education Special" in addition to her jazz band, TEN27, performing pieces from their multimedia concert "The Black Book Project" live on the show. She was commissioned to compose a three (3) movement piece for The Northeast Ballet Company's dance suite "The Beach", and a solo cello piece commisioned for the NYS Martin Luther King Celebration in Albany, New York. Monica has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Knitting Factory, Merkin Hall, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center out-of-doors, EMPAC, Liberty Museum of Science, The Palace, Proctor's and The Egg Center for the Performing Arts. Currently, she conducts the TuttiCelli cello choirs, and the Macedonia Baptist Chamber Orchestra. In addition to recording on over 25 CD's for various artists, she has also performed with the Lawrence Butch Morris Conduction Project, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, New York String Improvisors, The Gospel Jubilee, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Schenectady Symphony and the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra.