Jason Arce’s love for music began at an early age, while looking through his dad’s record collection.
And, later on, being a member of Windsor Oaks Elementary School’s choir, just reinforced his love of music.
But it wasn't until reached Plaza Middle School that one teacher really made a difference for this 2002 Princess Anne High School graduate's life, an impact that would shape not only his professional aspirations, but also eventually lead him to win a coveted Grammy award for his musical work.
“Lou Tarabick, to whom I still talk pretty regularly, got me interested in jazz, in the beginning,” said Arce. “Everything he did had a lasting impression on me; and on a lot students in my class.”
Arce said that Tarabick made music so special for him, “because, he loved it.”
When he arrived at high school, he noticed that some teachers, including Princess Anne High’s band director, John Boyd, shared his same passion for music.
As he described it, “that was it, for me,” said Arce.
A high school volleyball, baseball player and music student, Arce received his bachelor's degree in 2007 from Virginia Commonwealth University and his master's degree in 2010 from New York University graduate.
Since then, Arce, a saxophonist, is now in demand for his musical services and has worked with other musical artists, such as, Adele and Joe Jonas.
But, it was his work on CeCe Winans’ album, Let Them Fall in Love, that earned him a 2018 Grammy for Best Gospel Album.
When Jason Arce arrived at high school, he noticed that some teachers, including Princess Anne High’s band director, John Boyd, shared his same passion for music.
The 2018 Grammy awards ceremony was held last January in New York City, but Arce couldn't attend, due to a previously scheduled event in Los Angeles.
He said that he was shocked to win such a prestigious award.
“I learned about the award that Sunday night, through one of the arrangers on the album who called me,” Arce recalled. “He said, ‘we won,’ and my initial response was, ‘for real?' "
Jason Arc said that if he could speak
directly to students, he would tell them that
what he learned from all of his teachers
in VBCPS, was to follow your dreams.
Arce, who said he plays all types of music genres and different types of saxes, is starting his first tour this month, with the vocalist, Blood Orange. When he returns, he is recording his first solo album, titled, New Relationship, which is slated to be released next spring.
Arce now lives in New York, but still calls Virginia Beach home and is grateful for his experience in Virginia Beach City Public Schools and for its support of the creative arts.
“I never really experienced any downsizing with the arts,” he said. “I think having those creative outlets are really important in a school system and I felt Virginia Beach had that.”
He also said that if he could speak directly to students, he would tell them that what he learned from all of his teachers in VBCPS, was to follow your dreams.
“Literally, anything can be done if you really work hard and focus on something," said Arce. "There’s nothing that is out of your reach.”
(Article courtesy of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Photos courtesy of Jason Arce's Facebook page.)