As the rousing notes of themes for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Home Alone and Avatar concluded to a standing ovation from the audience, the annual Music Is Instrumental campaign had another high point to celebrate. Nearly $50,000 was raised through donations, sponsorships, silent auction and ticket sales for the January 11 culminating concert A Far Off Place.
The funds raised will be split evenly between Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools’ instrumental and vocal music programs. Perhaps the most important aspect of the weeks-long campaign, though, was the time given by local professional studio musicians to mentor the students and prepare for the big concert.
“As we are preparing our students with real-world skills and knowledge they need to be successful after they graduate, we must not forget that most of the successful leaders have had an influential mentor,” commented Dr. Armond Aghakhanian, President of Burbank Unified School District Board of Education.
“The annual Music is Instrumental [campaign] is more than a concert or a fundraiser,” he added. “It is about teamwork, dedication, discipline, respect and the ability to work with and learn from mentors.”
The Music Is Instrumental campaign made approximately $62,000 in 2019 and in 2018, after a year-long focused effort, Music Is Instrumental made $132,000.
“The loss of the Arts Teacher On Special Assignment position was felt this year,” said BUSD Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator Peggy Flynn. “We did not have as much bandwidth to enlist sponsors and solicit donations before the concert.”
“Nonetheless, we started Music Is Instrumental as a way to help bridge a funding gap in student access to well functioning instruments,” Flynn continued. “It’s been that for sure but it has also become so much more.”
“There is a unity between VMAs and IMAs and between BHS and JBHS,” she explained. “Families, students, community members and alumni have all rallied together – that’s something we need now more than ever!”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has!”
Burroughs High vocal music teacher Brendan Jennings sees the January 11 concert and mentorship program as the “most successful yet,” in the terms of the support for the students and their resulting growth from participating in the concert.
“This collaboration between all of the music programs continues to strengthen the district’s arts programs,” Jennings said. “We were so proud of what the students accomplished and so grateful for all of the parent support for the event. Don Williams and his team of mentors did amazing work and our event chair Jessica Good is simply the best.”
For the third year in a row, Don and April Williams of the Musicians At Play Foundation supported the high school music students with mentorships by professional studio musicians and secured the rights for BHS and JBHS to perform well-known music by John Williams, Michael Giacchino and James Horner at the annual concerts.