About Bernards Ensemble

Our Mission

The Bernards Ensemble aims to not only benefit local organizations working with special needs but also raise awareness towards mental illnesses. Through what the Ensemble calls “the RAISE (Recognizing Awareness for Individuals in Special Education) Through Music” Initiative, we hope to promote friendship and community among those who might be personally affect by mental illnesses and those who might not be.

Karen Kowalski, Director of Adult Services

The Arc of Somerset County

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Our Vision

As is its goal every year, the Bernards Ensemble aims to recruit many more student musicians into its rapidly growing program. As we have expanded outside of the Somerset County such as Bergen and New York, and we are trying to establish branches in other countries as well including Korea and China. We will keep recruiting committing students who are willing to share their talents and vision.  

The Bernards Ensemble was formed in 2016 with a group of passionate and talented student musicians in the Bernards Township area in New Jersey. The main goal of the Bernards Ensemble is to perform music for people with special needs. The ensemble strives to not only bring recognition to these people but also provides an effective pathway of communication and understanding through the joy of music. As some children and adults with disabilities are not able to attend musical concerts, the ensemble aims to bring the concert to them. Additionally, most ensemble members have already completed the PEC (Parents for Exceptional Children) mentor training.   The Bernards Ensemble have been worked closely with the Arc of the Somerset County (https://www.thearcofsomerset.org/) and the Bernards PEC (http://bernardspec.com) to achieve its goal to serve the community with music. 

In January 2017, the Bernards Ensemble held its first concert, supported by the Bernards PEC. Since then, it was able to reach out to the Bernards PEC and organized tentative one-on-one music lessons for interested children with autism and looks to spread its services even further in the coming future and develop a steady music-teaching program. The Bernards Ensemble has been established as one of the distinguished ensembles in the local area and was awarded the Bernards Township Mayor’s Art Awards for 2018 and 2019 for its services and volunteerism to the community.

Admist the Corona pandemic, the Bernards Ensemble did not stop spreading joy to those with special needs, and it has hosted virtual concerts via Zoom. Working with the Arc of Somerset, it was able to perform various pieces through online recordings and collaborations. Numerous collaboration videos were made with the wonderful contributions from the members, and shared with many people via YouTube as an additional platform to play music together.  

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"the RAISE (Recognizing Awareness for Individuals in Special Education) Through Music”