Notable Neighbors: Joséphine Borne & Tracey Albert

Joséphine Borne has found a musical home at Neighborhood Music School.

Joséphine, age 10, joined our community in 2017, and she has joyfully embraced every opportunity to make music at NMS. “I have studied piano, violin, and recorder at NMS,” said Joséphine. “I have done recitals, the Young Artist Diploma ProgramGrace Feldman‘s Beginning Baroque Ensemble, and also a Play-In with Grace, which was really fun!”

Joséphine recently brought joy to all of us at NMS when she was honored by the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) for her success in the RCM Certificate Program. She was awarded First Class Honors with Distinction for her performance on the Level 5 Piano Performance Exam, and she got a perfect score on her Music Theory Exam. Due to her stellar achievements, she received the Celebration of Excellence Award from RCM and will virtually perform at the Northeast United States RCM Award Ceremony on December 5. She was also recently featured in an article in The Newtown Bee.

Frances Taylor, a member of the piano faculty at NMS, taught Joséphine and helped her prepare for her exams. “I loved teaching Joséphine, who brought humor and creativity to every one of our piano lessons,” said Frances. “She never stopped trying to improve her technical skills and always loved to perform. That commitment to practicing, combined with her innate musicality, resulted in Joséphine’s success on her RCM exams. Congratulations to her and her family!”

While Joséphine is proud of her successes on the RCM exams, she loves that she can participate in a variety of musical activities at NMS with many different teachers. She has studied piano with Elaine SilbereisFrances TaylorZach Polson, and Victoria Reeve, violin and recorder with Grace Feldman, and music theory with Jody Rowitsch. Some of her favorite NMS memories are “going to recitals, getting awards, having exams. I also liked finally getting to play violin; I had been wanting to do that since I was three years old. I enjoyed all the parties after recitals and I really loved the Play-In — I played all the way to the very end.”

As much as Joséphine loves music, she also loves to read, draw, paint, craft, cook, and play with her friends. At the top of her list of things to do in her free time, however, is play with her cats: “I have two cats. Their names are Leo and Yoyo. Yoyo is twelve; Leo is only four. But they’re both really sweet and playful. Leo loves to play the most. He’s a Savannah, which is half wild cat, so of course he’s a more active cat. He follows me everywhere, sleeps on my bed, annoys me when I’m working, goes on a leash (I leash-trained him myself), and makes everyone laugh.”

Please join us in congratulating Joséphine on her achievements on the RCM exams. Once we are all together again at NMS, be sure to ask Joséphine what she is working on in her lessons, as she is excited to continue to expand her repertoire. But also be sure to ask her for stories about her beloved Leo and Yoyo!

For over two decades, Tracey Albert has guided and grown the Dance & Wellness Department at Neighborhood Music School.

Tracey is currently the Director of Dance & Wellness at NMS, following 21 years of service as the Dance Department Chair. She is in her 23rd year of teaching at our school.

During her time at NMS, Tracey has added several genres of dance to our class schedule, developed and integrated the Collaborative Choreography Initiative across the entire department, and co-created the Premier Dance Company.

When asked why she teaches at NMS, Tracey replied, “I have the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of teaching artists and students across many genres of dance and music. NMS is a place where I can help my students to discover themselves through the art of dance and give them tools to navigate life.”

Tracey grew up dancing in the New Haven area, graduated from the Educational Center for the Arts, and continued her studies as a dance major at The Boston Conservatory. Over the years, she danced with many small modern dance companies, spending ten years with Barbara Feldman and Dancers.

Tracey has more than 30 years of studio teaching experience and has taught numerous master classes focusing on collaborative choreography, modern dance, and ballet. She has been a member of Dance Teachers’ Club of Connecticut and Dance Masters of America for over 25 years.

In addition to her role as Director of Dance & Wellness, Tracey also coordinates the DELTA (Developing and Empowering Leadership Through the Arts) Initiative at NMS, which provides students from New Haven Public Schools and Achievement First Charter Schools a tuition-free opportunity to foster their artistic expression, expand their joy of performance, and develop life skills that support success in school and beyond.