Burbank Unified Announces Large Donation From Chuck Lorre Family Foundation At Music Is Instrumental Benefit Concert

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Burbank Unified high school students perform at the annual Music Is Instrumental benefit concert on January 27, 2024. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The Burbank Unified All-District Symphonic Orchestra and Choir performed popular film and classical music selections to close out the annual Music Is Instrumental benefit concert on a high note on Saturday, January 27. Burbank Unified officials also announced a donation of $170,000 over two years for the public school’s TK – 12 music programs by the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation.

The annual fundraiser brought together instrumental musician mentors from the Musicians At Play Foundation and instrumental and vocal music students from Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools to form the All-District Symphonic Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Angel Velez.

Actress and singer Carly Hughes emceed the event, filling in as a last-minute replacement for Retta, who had to bow out due to a change with her work schedule.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

The concert featured performances by Burbank and Burroughs’ Wind Ensembles and Jazz Bands, JBHS’ Powerhouse, BHS’ In Sync and the BHS Chamber Orchestra along with “Who I’d Be” from Shrek The Musical, which runs from February 2 – 4 at Burroughs High School.

“We are beyond excited!” commented Burbank Unified Career & Technical Education Coordinator Peggy Flynn. “The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation’s contributions over the next two years will have a significant impact in supporting equipment and instrument needs across BUSD TK – 12 school music programs.”

“Their contribution will provide valuable resources and opportunities for students to develop and support the tireless fundraising efforts of their parent groups and teachers. It’s heartwarming to see individuals and organizations making such a positive impact on the community.”

“It was very important to Mr. Lorre and TCLFF that the funding be used district wide,” Flynn went on to say. “The District Elementary music program that serves every elementary school will receive funding to repair or replace equipment and instruments – some of which were purchased when the program started in 2007.”  

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“We reviewed the District’s secondary music program inventories with teachers and determined that priority would be given to repairing and replacing instruments and equipment that will directly impact our students today and future students over the next ten years.”

Flynn noted that while funding for elementary school music programs had been cut by the district in response to an ongoing budget crisis, the funds from the Lorre Family Foundation will help shore up what remains of that program, along with vocal and instrumental programs at the middle and high schools.

She also mentioned that the continuation program at Monterey High School has recently added a new music production class under the Career Technical Education pathway.

“I am grateful to be the Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District,” commented Superintendent John Paramo. “It is an honor that our families entrust their children to us. The performances at Music Is Instrumental were spectacular. I played the violin for more than a decade. I know enough to recognize that what we witnessed in the vocal and musical performances was extraordinary.”

“Thank you to all of our educators who poured their hearts into the musical scores. Thank you to our district staff for your advocacy. Thank you to our partners for your support,” Paramo added. “And, most especially, thank you to our students for sharing your gifts with the community. I could not be more pleased.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“The BUSD Music Is Instrumental benefit concert was an incredible showcase of the strength of our vocal and instrumental programs, the dedication of our teachers and students, and  the impact of  Musicians at Play Foundation mentor program,” Flynn also said. “But the experience was also a demonstration of what can be accomplished when people work together for a common good.”  

“Our teachers are exceptional – they’ve each developed a strong sense of community in each of their programs and witnessing the camaraderie of the students as they worked through this experience together is one of those indescribable sensations – pure joy.”

“I know everyone involved who made this come together is grateful for the support of our Burbank community,” Flynn said. “Another reason Burbank and our public schools are so special.