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April 8, 2009 > Telethon raises $60,000 for after-school band

Telethon raises $60,000 for after-school band

By Miriam G. Mazliach

During its 10th annual telethon, Fremont Education Foundation raised $60,000 to fund after-school band programs for the 2009-2010 school year.

"Even if you didn't call in to this year's telethon, you can still contribute!" states Anne Damron, telethon chairperson. "Any donation, no matter the amount, will be appreciated by the students."

Funds raised pay for 48 elementary band classes in the Fremont Unified School District.

Broadcast live on EdTV (Comcast 26) last week, programming featured entertainment by all 27 elementary school bands in the program. Community and business leaders, Superintendent Milt Werner, assorted FUSD staff, board members, and major donors stopped by to participate and show their support. Fremont Bank and Allegro Music were major donors.

"Because it is offered free at every elementary school, all 4th, 5th and 6th grade students have an equal opportunity to participate in this enrichment program," states Tess Melendez, Interim Director of Elementary Education. "The program brings balance and fun to learning, particularly during these times of budget cuts. We appreciate the exceptional support and commitment of Fremont Education Foundation to our elementary students."

Many former participants, who have gone on to junior and senior high schools, volunteer to assist with the band classes. "The bands foster a connection between the older and younger youth in our area and give high school students a way to give back to our community," Damron relates.

After-school band students must furnish their own instruments. Some are purchased, many are rented, and a small number are borrowed from FEF, an instructor, or a school.

Anyone with a band instrument gathering dust in a closet might consider letting one of these young musicians put it to good use. FEF gladly accepts donations of new or used flutes, coronets, snare drums, trumpets, clarinets, trombones, saxophones, bells, percussions and xylophones, baritone horns and euphoniums.

Learning to play an instrument "is like participating in a sport," Damron explains. "Music is a life-long activity, something to go back to even later in life."

Each night of the telethon, a "house band" from the elementary schools provided musical interludes. Harvey Green Elementary School's band appeared live in the studio on Tuesday; followed by Millard Elementary on Wednesday and Ardenwood Elementary Thursday.

Volunteers making phone calls included groups from the school district, Fremont Asian Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission and Niles Rotary.

Established in 1991 to replace funding lost by state budget cuts, FEF raises funds for two other educational programs.

The Guy Emanuele Sports Fund helps needy students with co-curricular sports expenses and provides grants for after-school programs at junior high and elementary schools. The Happy Fish Run supplies program funding.

Innovative Education Grants for district teacher projects in the classroom are funded through FEF's annual Excellence in Education Gala.

Donations may be sent to Fremont Education Foundation, 39120 Argonaut Way, #381, Fremont, CA 94538. Other options are to make a secure online contribution at www.fremont-education.org or leave a message at (510) 659-2561.

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