2021 is the 20th anniversary of ACG Education. We’ll be celebrating all year long! Here is a beautiful story about one of our spring projects at Lively Middle School! Click here to learn more about ACG Education.


ACG Education is the heart of our organization. We highly value the life long connections we build through our programs! This spring we had the opportunity to see our very own Director of Customer Experience and Composer, Justice Phillips, make a full circle and collaborate with Lively Middle School, where he attended from 2009-2011!

Travis Marcum, our Director of Education, said,

“When we initially contacted the orchestra and guitar director Meredith McAlmon at Lively, she was interested in commissioning a piece specifically for her guitar, orchestra and dance programs to perform. In comes Justice Phillips who is a relatively new staff member here at ACG. Justice has a degree in composition, he is a fabulous musician, and Justice began his guitar studies at Lively Middle School in our ACG program there years ago. It was a perfect fit.” 

The beauty held and created by the connections made in ACG Education programs are some of our most treasured experiences. Travis shared the impact of these connections made at Lively, 

“As ACG Education Director, I have been serving guitar students in Austin for 16 years. I remember meeting Justice at Lively many years ago when he was a SUPER energetic 13 year old who wanted, above all else, to play fast! To see Justice work with his former teacher along with another ACG Education alum and Lively guitar teacher Javier Saucedo… that was a truly proud moment. The composition they created was inspiring and the perfect thing for all of the students involved. The dedication and musicianship of the young artists who recorded this project was so very impressive and a reminder that inspired young people become inspiring adult artists.”

This collaboration was extra special because of the difficulties the pandemic has placed on music education in general. Despite being unable to rehearse fully together until the recording date, the students and teachers involved fully embodied beauty and grace in their performance of Six Feet Together. Travis shared, 

“The three teachers, Justice, and myself all worked together to write a piece that was both beautiful and executable by all students involved. The result is a truly gorgeous piece for strings, guitar, and dance. And when the students arrived at the AISD Performing Arts Center in late May 2021 to record, it was the first time they had truly met in person as a group since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic. They rehearsed and recorded together. There was a palpable joy in this experience. And the students decided to name the piece “Six Feet Together”, a play on the social distancing rules of the day.”