Superintendent’s Spotlight: Joseph Berg


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Joseph Berg

March 6, 2024

A couple of weeks ago, we featured a story in our News feed entitled Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Music Production Class & Studio Music Club. The article discusses how the seven tenets of our district’s Portrait of a Graduate are reflected in both programs. In the story, WVHS orchestra director, music production teacher and advisor of the studio music club, Elissa Maynard, shared her insights on the topic. She also pointed one student in particular, a guy who she feels embodies what Studio Music Club is all about.

WVHS junior Joseph Berg is that guy!

“Joe is a great young man, and such a positive force,” said Ms. Maynard. “Joe is just someone whose peers want to be around him. He’s lively and active; he encourages them! When he does something, they get fired up to do it, too.’”

Joe joined Studio Music Club in his freshman year and immediately felt like he’d found his people. The practical skills to create music stoked his creative fires and he looked up to the upperclassmen who were leaders in the group, including Ms. Maynard’s son Tim Leonard.

“The most important aspect of Studio Music Club is the other people who are in it,” said Joe. “It was like a family when I joined, and it’s still something that brings people together. When those guys graduated, I knew I was going to keep building this club up.”

Joe’s parents are both working artists – his dad is a musician, his mom is a painter – and his grandfather was a music teacher, so Joe grew up in a New York City apartment with music and musicians all around him.

“Music has always been in my life, in every aspect,” said Joe. “My dad would talk about music and gigs, and my mom paints. I got to really understand that there was a creative world out there that you could be a part of!”

Joe picked up whatever instrument piqued his interest at any given time. He started out showing some serious self-taught promise on the guitar, so his dad enrolled him in piano lessons.

“Lessons… I was like, ‘all right, no,’ I wasn’t all about it,” laughed Joe, who preferred a more autodidactic approach. “But then I picked up electric bass and I picked up a little bit of drums. Whenever I wanted to learn something, I just tried to; I worked it out.”

Joe said that music has been a dependable companion throughout his life; one that he’s looked to for everything from inspiration to support. When Joe is making music, he thinks about creating something that other people could depend on.

“I feel like no matter who you are, what your race or gender identity may be, we can all relate to one another through songs,” shared Joe. “That’s something that’s very special. I want to write songs that will, maybe, help someone else feel what they might be looking for.”

Joe’s dad, Ryan Berg, fuels his son’s interest in production. He has always pointed Joe toward artists whose production artistry have shaped entire eras of popular music, records by artists from Donny Hathaway to D’Angelo and Eric Badu. Ryan is also a producer, so between Joe’s immediate family and Ms. Maynard and the WVHS music production family, Joe has managed to immerse himself in his love of the craft. Now, he’s all about making sure other people “can collaborate and have as much fun as I do making stuff.”

Joe likes to bring people to the club who he knows have something to say, but perhaps lack the courage to say it aloud. Ms. Maynard points to Joe’s infectiously enthusiastic “even-if-you-don’t-know-it, you-can-learn-it” approach, which has made him so successful at swaying his peers to go for it. 

“Yea, I know they have ideas, so I’m just, like, ‘Come on, let’s go. We got this,’” said Joe. “That’s how we’re developing a family that encourages each other to do things, which is what I’m really happy I had in my freshman year.”

Besides being the club’s #1 advocate, Joe is also its reigning Producer of the Year, a title he captured at last year’s Studio Music Club GRAMMYs. This year, he’s been keeping his submissions for the competition — coming up in the spring — under close wraps, but he’s excited to release something that is 100% his own creation.

“Winning Producer of the Year was awesome, I won something that I really wanted to win, but I’m looking to show people that I know how to do more than press a few keys,” he said. “[Ms. Maynard] hasn’t heard anything yet, but I’m really swinging this year. I’m really trying to sweep the house!” 

Despite his obvious passion and knack for the producer role, Joe said he plans to go to school for business.

“I don’t think I’ll be pursuing music in school, but it will always be with me,” Joe said. “A hobby or maybe a little side hustle. Really, for me, [music] is all about having fun and creating.”

For the rest of his junior year, Joe said he’s looking forward to those GRAMMYs, but even more, he’s glad to have another year to introduce people to Studio Music Club.

“Music is such a great way to express yourself, and I’ve known a lot of people who don’t know really how to express themselves emotionally. But, they can do it in a song,” said Joe. “I think that’s a really healthy way of going about it, so I want to preach that. You know?”


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