“Just like in classical music, you need grit in law, too. As a musician, you can’t give up on your orchestra—and you can’t give up on your client as an attorney, either.” – Raïna Jacques ‘09
When Raïna Jacques presents arguments in court, she is sometimes taken back to her BYSO days, where endless hours of perfecting her craft would crescendo on stage. Starting in one of BYSO’s first Intensive Community Program (ICP) cohorts as a 9-year-old viola player, Raïna worked hard to eventually join BYS. Throughout nine years of practice, rehearsals, and concerts, BYSO was the highlight of the week. Thinking back to that time, she recalls, “You learn how to embrace the challenging parts, and to rely on your BYSO family as a support system and motivator.”
Since graduating from BYSO, Raïna has earned her JD, served as a prosecutor in one of Boston’s busiest courts, and now works as a trademark litigator at Sunstein, an intellectual property firm. Through her rigorous career journey, she brings the tenacity learned in BYSO everywhere: “Just like in classical music, you need grit in law, too. As a musician, you can’t give up on your orchestra—and you can’t give up on your client as an attorney, either. Besides, who would think that Raïna Jacques is a classical musician? Music is what sets me apart and allows me to stand out,” she says.
ICP especially stands out as a formative experience. As a young girl, the people in her musical and educational spaces did not often look like her. ICP opened up a world of young musicians of color who played at a competitive caliber. “ICP is one of the most important parts of my life because it set up the mentality of we’re all capable already with what we have within and we’re going to succeed.” Even now, thinking about her ICP family grounds her in her expertise in new and competitive spaces.
Thinking about passing on the torch to a new generation of young musicians, Raïna notes how long overdue it is for BYSO to have its own space. She is thrilled for the soon-to-come day when the BYSO Youth Center for Music can finally open its doors to the next generation of musicians—including her nephew, who is a violinist in BYSO! “It’s amazing to see the ICP legacy continue. It’s a testament to the strength of the program and its power to keep classical music alive.”