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March 16, 2012 > Band Telethon!

Band Telethon!

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Walter Garcia

Having recently held two other successful fundraisers in support of its Innovative Teacher Grants and the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund programs, Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) volunteers are now working feverishly, gearing up for their 13th Annual After-School Band Telethon to be held March 20-22.

Students in Fremont are fortunate to have the support of this local non-profit organization, whose mission is to raise funds, on their behalf, for a variety of needs and interests. An independent organization established in 1991, FEF works closely with, but is separate from, the Fremont Unified School District.

Via its telethon, FEF raises funds for the After-School Band program to provide 25 weeks of instructional time, from mid-October to late April, for interested 4th, 5th and 6th grade students at Fremont's 27 elementary schools. Donations such as these are essential to the continuation and success of this program as the District is unable to provide any funding.

Co-chairs of this year's telethon team are the dynamic trio of: FEF Vice President, Debra Watanuki; Horner Jr. High teacher, Kathleen Caine; and Band instructor, Denise Whitney.

"The program has grown with a 30 percent increase in participation of students signed up and over 1,100 are now in the Band program," says Watanuki. "It's even more important to meet our fundraising goal to take even more children into the After-School Band Program. Some schools have waiting lists, but we do not have enough money for additional classes/sections. We have phenomenal instructors who have accommodated more students, beyond capacity, to teach them," she explains.

Throughout the three evenings of the telethon, volunteers will be calling the community to solicit donations and support for the After-School Band program. So, be sure to answer your telephones! Also, the public is encouraged to volunteer for the phone bank and high school students can earn credit for community service hours. If interested, please contact Debra Watanuki at: to sign up or to get more information.

Phone banks will be situated at three locations: the Fremont Unified District Teachers' Association (FUDTA) office, the Mason-McDuffie/Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate office and in the EdTV studio where a "celebrity" phone bank will be manned by City Council and School Board members, principals, the Fremont Superintendent Dr. Morris and Staff, commission members and business leaders, among others.

"Donations are truly appreciated, as we are hoping to raise $140,000 which is the cost to run the Band program for the year," says Watanuki.

Several months ago, Wells Fargo Bank donated a $30,000 grant to FEF, whose Board then voted to allocate $18,900 from the amount towards the After-School Band Program. Besides Wells Fargo, other major Telethon sponsors as of press time include Allegro Music, Niles Rotary, and C&L Music. The Tri-City Voice Newspaper is the Telethon's media sponsor.

Acting as hosts for the Telethon will be local notables KK Kaneshiro and Rick Geha, who will introduce the musical guests providing entertainment in the EdTV studio. Among those scheduled to appear are: Brookvale Elementary School Band, Mission San Jose Elementary School band and Daniel Dalarossa of Choro (Brazilian) Music.

Another way to help the band program is through the donation of new or gently used musical instruments, to replace student inventory. So, look through your boxes or in closets at home, for unused workable instruments gathering dust. Fremont's young band students, who are required to provide their own instruments for the classes, could put these to great use. Please visit the FEF website if you can help in this way.

The result of all the volunteer and public support will be apparent, beginning in April, when the Band students conduct their Attendance Area (District) Concerts. "These are open to the public to experience, see and hear the progression of the students' musicianship," adds Watanuki.

Remember to answer your phones and donate. Your generosity will be much appreciated by the students!

After-School Band Telethon
March 20, 21 and 22
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Broadcast live on EdTV Comcast Ch. 26. Streaming live on and

Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to:
Fremont Education Foundation
39120 Argonaut Way, #381
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 659-2561
Secure online contribution:
FEF is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization

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