Students from John Burroughs High School worked together to present a benefit concert on Friday, June 14, for Education Through Music – LA (ETM-LA), which provides music instructions for Title 1 schools throughout the Los Angeles area, including several in the Burbank Unified School District.
Recently graduated JBHS senior Ella Jennings and rising senior Mic Ferrante joined forces to plan an evening of music featuring fellow JHBS vocalists and musicians. Bolstered by their respective families, the event was held at the historic Rock House on Olive Avenue in Burbank, which has hosted the likes of Amelia Earhart, Henry Ford and Will Rogers in times past.
“Mic and I wanted to put on the benefit concert for ETM-LA to raise funds for putting music in disadvantaged schools as part of ETM-LA’s incredible mission, as well as to showcase the talents of the Burroughs High School performers and bring together the community for a lovely summer event,” commented Jennings.
“I have a personal connection with ETM-LA since I began learning violin the summer after fifth grade with Victoria Lanier, the Executive Director of ETM-LA, as my teacher, and I studied under her for six years,” she added. “Despite taking a temporary hiatus from violin lessons for two years to pursue art, I missed playing violin so I decided to help put together a final concert before I left for college.”
“Together with my family and the Ferrantes, we found a large group of young talented performers from Burroughs including singers, pianists and a guitarist to create a diverse program.”
“The concert itself was even more successful than I anticipated, with beautiful music, about seventy people from the community in the audience, and almost $2,000 raised for ETM-LA,” Jennings said. “I’m very much looking forward to the next concert, and excited for any future ETM-LA fundraisers!”
“We are incredibly grateful to Ella and Mic along with their friends and family for coming alongside our mission to keep music in disadvantaged schools,” said Lanier. “It’s so inspiring to see the local community come together to give back in this meaningful way.”
Education Through Music-LA partners with the Burbank Unified School District to help provide yearlong weekly music instruction at Providencia (including a strings orchestra), William McKinley and George Washington Elementary Schools.
ETM-LA also provides additional services and curriculum support at Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elementary School, Horace Mann Child Development Center and Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.
“Ella and I met months ago with a giant sheet of paper titled ‘Goals,’ in which the ONE produced extraordinary achievements: to collect funds and donations through the hard-working and talented musicians from our John Burroughs High School,” commented Ferrante.
“With guidance from the incredible Victoria Lanier, executive director of Education Through Music Los Angeles, we were able to put on a successful and absolutely phenomenal benefits concert right in the heart of Burbank,” he added. “The group holds a special place in our hearts in their [dedication] to enhance the well-roundedness, self-confidence and opportunity for all kids through music education, just like we hopefully achieved through our benefits concert.”
“It was definitely one of those events where you felt like everyone was working hard – Ella and Mic wanted it to be a success and poured in lots of time and talent — the variety of songs really stood out!” commented Ella’s mother Kristen, whose parents Gary and Bette Ann Hubbard own the historic Rock House.
“While the kids took the lead, Mina and I found such joy working together on the ‘thank you’ area on the concert program, highlighting all those who made contributions,” she added.
“The original goal was to raise $1000 but that night we totaled over $1500 and still have open bidding on piano and voice lessons as well as an original artwork to benefit ETM-LA.”
“It took about a month to cultivate this event,” added Mic’s mother Mina, a Burbank-based visual artist, who donated several pieces of art for the event’s silent auction. “The ultimate goal was to give the children a chance to have some fun, to show off their talents in a fun, elegant get-together between friends and family in the community, for a good cause of course.”
“I think we achieved that goal very well. Above all, again and again, I’m so proud of our community who always ready to give and to support!” she also said.