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February 7, 2012 > Sharing the love of music with the next generation

Sharing the love of music with the next generation

By Jessica Noel Waymire

Music is a universal language. Every cultural group around the world has some form of musical tradition. The rhythm and melody of music express ideas and deep emotions. Music also has a way of bringing the community together and uplifting spirits. With constant budget cuts, the ability to share the joy and beauty of music has been drastically impacted in neighborhood schools. Thankfully, there are people like Charlotte Diamond and community programs such as Music for Minors II working to keep music alive for future generations.

Charlotte Diamond is a native Canadian with a lifelong love of music. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, she taught music to junior high school students for 12 years. Having children of her own furthered her love of music and she began to write songs for her two sons, now grown with little ones of their own.

Diamond developed a preschool music program in her neighborhood and these performances caught the attention of other parents. This eventually blossomed into family concerts and an independent recording. Her first album, "10 Carrot Diamond," was an immediate success and received the Canadian Juno Award. Diamond now has 13 recordings in English, French, and Spanish, as well as several music books and DVDs. Her most recent recording, released in December 2011, is titled "24 Carrot Diamond" and includes 24 of her best-loved children's songs. She has given several international concerts and received numerous awards, including five Parents' Choice Awards in the United States.

Music for Minors II (MFMII) shares Diamond's love of children's music. Carol Zilli heads this local, non-profit organization that collaborates with East Bay schools to ensure that children continue to have the opportunity to learn about music. MFMII has been serving the East Bay for nearly 24 years. Formed as a spinoff group from the Peninsula based parent-organization, Music for Minors-Los Altos, founded in 1976, MFMII is a network of volunteers trained as docents to teach music and music appreciation to local school children.

Docents spend time each week in classrooms around the East Bay teaching singing, dancing, and instrumental music to preschool and elementary students. The mission of MFMII is "to nurture the love of music in children and develop musical literacy through instruction, participation, and performances, enhancing academic education with musical arts."

The connection between Charlotte Diamond and Music for Minors II began with her first album, "10 Carrot Diamond." The album was sent to Linden Tree Children's Books in Los Altos and quickly became a Bay Area favorite. Diamond, who gives workshops on how to effectively teach music to children, is a supporter of programs like MFMII. She was invited to the Bay Area for her first local concert in 1988, shortly after MFMII was established. Diamond has since performed for them 12 times and taught several workshops on children's music appreciation.

On Saturday, February 11, Music for Minors II will present a Charlotte Diamond family concert in Fremont. Children from local schools, taught by MFMII docents, will join Diamond on stage for some of the songs. One song in particular has a special community focus... "'You Can Make A Miracle." Diamond says the song "highlights how important it is for the community to get behind the education of children and music education. We make miracles every day with children. The arts expand them culturally as human beings."

Diamond's songs are fun and lively. They are simple enough for the whole family to join in and sing along. There are funny songs like "I'm A Pizza" and "Laundry Monster" as well as others, encouraging and inspirational, like "Lucky Streak," which reminds us how lucky we are in life. After the concert, Diamond spends time with families in the audience. She loves to visit with those who grew up on her music and now bring their own children to the concerts, passing the musical tradition on to the next generation. Diamond's albums and music books will be available for sale after the concert. More of her work can be seen at: www.charlottediamond.com.

Attending this wonderful family concert is one way to support the arts for children. Another way is to donate to Music for Minors II, or become a docent and donate your time. Volunteers at any level of musical experience are welcome!

Bring your family for a great time and a good cause!

Music for Minors II Presents Charlotte Diamond
A Family Concert
Saturday, Feb 11
2 p.m.
Harbor Light
4760 Thornton Ave., Fremont
(510) 733-1189
www.musicforminors2.org

Tickets: Ages 3 and up: $12 in advance, $14 at the door
Groups of 20 or more: $10 each, by advance purchase only

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