Meet the Jessica Teachey
This Howard University Alumna is Continuing DC’s Rich Music Legacy
Meet Jessica Teachey — She serves as the Senior Director of Community Engagement at Washington DC’s The MusicianShip, a non-profit organization that facilitates music lessons, experiences, and opportunities to benefit youth in need. The organization serves the community through an impact-driven ecosystem of music programs. Here she focuses on increasing music education awareness with regional musicians, preserving music history/cultural community experiences, and growing global program visibility. Her most notable projects are behind the non-profit’s major acquisitions of The Washington Youth Choir, The Wammie Awards, and the DC Funk Parade. Pre-COVID-19, the D.C. Funk Parade hosted 70,000 attendees who filled the U Street corridor with celebrations of African American culture through performances, interactive murals, and panel discussions. This year, the D.C. Funk Parade navigated the pandemic by hosting a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, still raising over $1,900 to support youth music programming. The MusicianShip is using their DC music events as a vehicle to change the lives of youth and they’re looking to work with more partners from their music industry to do even more in 2022.
What was the inspiration for The MusicianShip?
The concept of The MusicianShip was a product of the story of the late Dianne Grainger.
As a music educator, Dianne witnessed inner-city youth not have the same opportunities to continue their music education like she did. Because of this, Dianne was inspired to start a music program from a concept created by her “Uncle Glen.” Dianne and her dad, Gregory Grainger (professional drummer), talked about trying to make that plan a reality. From there, Dianne connected with her Howard ensemble mate, Jeffery Tribble, Jr., who had also begun developing a similar concept. Dianne, Jeffery, and Gregory had a meeting about their shared vision and the beginnings of The MusicianShip were born.
Unfortunately, Dianne died in a tragic accident on August 5, 2009, at the age of 24. She never had the chance to see her dream become a reality. But with the help of Jim Reznikoff, Eric Jacobs, and Anja Broer, Jeffery and Gregory made The MusicianShip come to life. We are constantly sailing forward in memory of Dianne, all that she believed in, and her spirit is ever-present in The MusicianShip’s ongoing effort to change lives with music.
Dianne loved music and started playing percussion at the age of 14. During her time at Baltimore City High school, she quickly advanced to the snare drum becoming one of the best percussionists in the area. Dianne refined her skills by taking private lessons from her father. She was then awarded a music scholarship to Howard University, where she played in concert and marching bands became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women, and graduated Cum Laude in 2007 with a B.A. in Music Education and a minor in Percussion. After graduating from Howard, Dianne became a full-time music education teacher at Deer Park Middle School in Baltimore County.
How can others support The MusicianShip?
By volunteering their free time towards our programs/events or by making a direct donation, no matter the size, to our organization at TheMusicianShip.org
How is The MusicianShip changing the lives of youth through their music programming?
At our core, we are a youth development organization that offers a wide range of music education programs, geared towards enriching the lives of students, their families, and the communities in which they live. Our After-school, Summer, Master Class, and Ensemble Programs, such as the Washington Youth Choir, serve youth ranging from 5 years old up to the age of 24. And while we are based in DC, we reach students as far as South Africa, Paris, and Sint Maarten. To support our free youth programs, The MusicianShip stewards an ecosystem of music-based events, each leading to our singular purpose of uplifting those in need. These projects include our Annual Gala, The Wammie Awards, and the DC Funk Parade.
What’s next for The MusicianShip and how can the community get involved and support it?
The Wammie Awards and the DC Funk Parade will be returning in person in 2022. In the meantime, as we prepare to launch our Summer Programs, we’d love to strengthen the bridge between our local and international youth programs, with goals to take our reach from 2,000 youth to 5,000 over the next few years. Now that Washington DC is open for business as we all put the pandemic in our rearview mirrors, we’re excited to work strategically with our local government and regional arts partners and organizations to accomplish these goals via our robust platform of programs.