Arts · Essex County · Jersey Icon · Music · New Jersey

Those Who Can, Teach

We’re all heard the ol’ saying:

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.

Well, I’ll leave my opinion of the last part to myself, but I certainly want to talk about the first part. My answer is this: those who can, teach!

I would like to tell you about one very special teacher; Mr. Edwin Black.

Mr. Black was the orchestra director in Belleville Middle and High Schools for decades. He was incredibly dedicated teacher who instilled a love of orchestral music in thousands of students. Not only was he a wonderful teacher, he was an incredibly talented musician.

How do I know this you might ask? I was one of the multitudes of students he taught.

He was my orchestra director from 8th grade at BMS to my senior year in high school. If a student who wasn’t lucky enough to have him would see him walk down the hallway, they wouldn’t think much of this unassuming and quiet man. However those of us who knew him, well, we knew much better.

Edwin Black, orchestra director
Mr. Edwin Black (Source: Facebook)

Mr. Black was a proud veteran of the Naval Academy of Music. He also earned degrees from Montclair State University and Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Despite being such a dedicated teacher, he still managed to enjoy a prolific performing schedule that included 25 years with the Paper Mill Playhouse. Mr. Black was also a founding member of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, serving with the group for over 30 years.

He also had a profound impact on my husband. Mr. Black introduced him to fly fishing.

He came home one day telling me about how Mr. Black was always asking him to head out fishing on the weekend. At the time, my husband was an avid spin fisherman. I told him “he wants to go fishing with you; it sounds like a nice day. Go and enjoy.”

Well, it set him, and eventually me, on a path that would change our lives.

So as you can see, Mr. Black made a positive impact on many lives.

This past week, Heaven gained another musician. After a long life, full of service, he now is at rest.

I firmly believe that your energy and impression lives on long after you have left this Earth through the lives your touched. It is safe to say Mr. Black touched thousands of lives. And we are all better for knowing him.

Thank you, Mr. Black.


4 thoughts on “Those Who Can, Teach

  1. Grew up in Belleville. Went to #7 and BHS. Don’t remember Mr Black but looks like he was a great person, RIP Mr Black. RIP

      1. Great town. I lived on Madison Street. Moved to Florida in 1972 but talk up Belleville weekly to wife and friends and family. My one son was born at Clara Maass Hospital. Loved hanging at Milk Bar. Love Belleville. Have a great week

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