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Providencia Orchestra Performs At ETM-LA Gala Honoring Cusumano Real Estate Group, Rickey Minor & Angela Woo

Students from Providencia Elementary’s string orchestra performed at the 14th annual Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Benefit Gala honoring the Cusumano Real Estate Group, educator Angela Woo and Emmy-award winning music producer and director Rickey Minor with Shining Star Awards.

Held on Sunday, November 10, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the annual gala raises funds and awareness for supporting music programs in disadvantaged L.A. County schools.

Students from Providencia Elementary’s string orchestra perform at the 14th annual ETM-LA Benefit Gala on November 19, 2019. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Anthony Anderson, who currently stars in ABC’s black-ish, opened the affair. Students from Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School string orchestra and Los Angeles’ Hooper Avenue Elementary School choir, along with ETM-LA alumni performed for the audience.

Grammy-nominated vocalist Ledisi performed a rousing Aretha Franklin tribute, backed by the Rickey Minor Band. Grammy-nominated saxophonist David Koz also impressed the audience.

“I would not be who I am if it weren’t for organizations like ETM-LA,” said Ledisi, acknowledging she benefited from in-school music education, as she also thanked Minor for his long-time mentorship.

Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Shining Star Artist honoree Rickey Minor, left, dances onto the stage as actress and dancer Debbie Allen, right, introduces him during the Education Through Music Los Angeles 14th annual Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, November 10, 2019, in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

Emmy-award winning director and choreographer Debbie Allen presented Minor with his Shining Star Award. Music education Michael Stone and former Mayor of Burbank Michael Hasting also presented awards.

“Music has changed not only my life, but it changes the vibration of this planet,” commented Minor. “Through music, we can make this world a better place.”

“I love what I do… I look forward every day to being inspired by my students,” said honoree Woo, who has taught for over 25 years and is the Director of Instrumental Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.

Michael Cusumano accepts the ETM-LA Shining Star Award on behalf of Cusumano Real Estate Group. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

“Education is really important in order for people to have full and successful lives,” stated Michael Cusumano, who received the Shining Star Award on behalf of his company, Cusumano Real Estate Group. “Music is an integral part of the education that our children should receive.”

Lola Debney and Alecia Spendlove served as Co-Chairs of the gala.

Honorary hosts included Christophe Beck, Andra Day, John Debney, Michael Giacchino, Jennifer Hudson, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Diana Ross, Randy Spendlove and Diane Warren.

More celebrities were sprinkled through the audience including Ernie Fields, Jr., Julianne Jordan, Christopher Lennertz, Manny and Terri Marroquin, Carin and Mark McGrath, Blake Neely, Rudy Sarzo, Rob Simonsen and Joseph Trapanese.

The Education Through Music-Los Angeles 14th annual Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, November 10, 2019 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

“We are grateful to our amazing honorees – true shining stars – for championing quality music education for all children in local disadvantaged schools,” commented ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier. “They demonstrate leadership in furthering our mission to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential through music and the arts.”

More images from the event can be found on the ETM-LA website here.

Currently, ETM-LA serves approximately 17,500 students with weekly music as part of the core
curriculum in the communities of Bellflower, Boyle Heights, Burbank, Compton, Chinatown, ​Downtown LA, ​East LA, Inglewood, ​Pasadena, South Central L.A. and throughout the San Fernando Valley.

Burroughs Students Raise Nearly $2000 For ETM-LA And Public School Music Education

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.

John Burroughs High School students performed at the Garden Music Soirée benefit concert for ETM-LA: (from left to right) Angelina Ferrante, Cate Dobson, Eyén Paredes, Juju Blevins, Alice Dore, Jillian Flynn, Lily Blevins, Ella Jennings, Mic Ferrante and David Hernandez. (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)

“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.

Garden Music Soirée organizers Ella Jennings and Mic Ferrante perform “Meditation” from “Thais.” (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)

“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.”

Lily Blevins performs Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” accompanied by Mic Ferrante. (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)

“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.”

JBHS student David Hernandez performed two classical guitar arrangements of Bach pieces. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“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.

JBHS students Eyén Paredes and Mic Ferrante perform a four-hands arrangement of themes from “La La Land.” (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)

“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.

JBHS students Angelina Ferrante, Juju Blevins, Alice Dore and Cate Dobson sing “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor, accompanied by David Hernandez. (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)

“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.”

Eyén Paredes and David Hernandez perform Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“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.

JBHS student Jillian Flynn sings “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, accompanied by Eyén Paredes who was assisted by David Hernandez turning pages. (Photo Courtesy Amy Stolz)


Summer Music Soiree 2 Entertains Capacity Crowd, Raises Funds For Music Education

Young musicians from the City performed a free concert for the Burbank community at Summer Music Soiree 2 on Monday evening, September 12. Children from Providencia Elementary’s string program and local Burbank teens performed to a standing room only audience of more than 100 people at Olive Plaza.

Organized by sisters Eyén Paredes and Maya Paredes, the second annual event raised more than $1000 in donations for Education Through Music – Los Angeles (ETM-LA)’s programs in disadvantaged schools.

“We are so grateful to these young artists who volunteer their time to help keep music in our schools,” said ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier. “It’s inspiring to see teenagers like Maya and Eyén take the initiative to give back to their community and to be a role models for other children.”

Providencia Elementary string players. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Providencia Elementary string players. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Fifth grade students from Providencia Elementary, who participate in the string orchestra program provided by ETM-LA, opened the program with a selection of folk songs conducted by instructor Jonathan Long.

Bethany Daez, Haya Farooq, Jimena Menedez. Justin Brauer, Kayla Archuleta, Lexi Brauer, Maya  Whitton, Mia Tejeda, Samantha Cole and Yanuel Rosario from Providencia all demonstrated their growth on the violin, after picking up the instrument just one year ago.

Violinist Jessica Park, pianist Maya Paredes and cellist Claire Park - Trio Épicé from The Colburn School - perform Ravel's "Trio in a minor." (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Violinist Jessica Park, pianist Maya Paredes and cellist Claire Park – Trio Épicé from The Colburn School – perform Ravel’s “Trio in a minor.” (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Providencia Principal Jen Culbertson talked about the positive impact music education has on growing children and discussed the programs ETM-LA provides at the school. Lanier explained the mission of the nonprofit, which has grown to serve more than 12,000 children at 25 schools in Los Angeles County.

ETM-LA provides music teachers and programs to supplement Burbank Unified music programs at Providencia Elementary, McKinley Elementary and Washington Elementary.

Evan Lanier and Ella Jennings from Burbank also performed on violin, along with Cayla Mendoza from West Los Angeles.

Eyén Paredes and Maya Paredes play "Libertango" by Astor Piazzolla for violin and piano. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Eyén Paredes and Maya Paredes play “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla for violin and piano. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

City of Burbank Councilmember Bob Frutos attended the concert and volunteers from Apple helped out with the event.

The inaugural Summer Music Soiree in 2015 boasted a special guest performance by Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour.

Summer Music Soiree 2 featured Trio Épicé from The Colburn School.

Comprised of pianist Maya Paredes, violinist Jessica Park and cellist Claire Park, the chamber music ensemble closed out the concert with an impassioned performance of the first movement of Maurice Ravel’s Trio in a minor.

Washington Elementary Boosters Receives $10,000 From Warner Bros.

The George Washington Elementary Boosters Club received a $10,000 matched donation from Warner Bros. Entertainment on the last day of school, May 26, at a school-wide concert.

“Our Boosters main focus is to fundraise for weekly music instruction in grades Pre-K, TK, Kindergarten and first grade because the District funds weekly music instruction in grades second through fifth,” explained Washington Principal Brandi Young.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Our school also started a Washington Band this year in fourth and fifth grade,” she added. “Fifty-five students have learned to read music and play an instrument such as flute, percussion, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.”

The Washington Boosters Club pays for two teachers from Education Through Music – Los Angeles (ETM-LA) to lead weekly vocal classes for TK – 1 and the fourth- and fifth-grade band. Erik Garcia teaches TK – 1 and Dr. Rachel Hockenberry leads the band.

Anne Reinking teaches the BUSD-funded weekly music program at the school for second through fifth graders.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Additionally, Garri Dance Studio was hired to teach weekly dance instruction for six weeks to every student at Washington Elementary through the Boosters program.

Young’s Burbank Business Partner is Mary-Elizabeth Michaels from Warner Bros. Michaels, along with Warner Bros.’ Lisa Rawlins, helped start the Washington Elementary Boosters Club during the 2015-16 school year.

Washington Boosters held two Match $10,000 campaigns during the 2015-16 school year. At the Winter Concert, $5235.14 was raised by Washington families and supporters. At the school’s first ever Spring Dance on March 18, the second Match $10,000 campaign was held.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“With the efforts of our wonderful Washington families and Burbank Partners, we were able to raise a total of $14,413.40!” said Young.

“Our goal is $20,000 per school year in order to continue these wonderful music programs as well as [to] assist our fifth graders with attending Outdoor Science School in Thousand Pines, California.”

Washington Elementary Boosters Club is more than half way towards reaching their goal of $20,000 and are still accepting donations at: www.supportburbankschools.org/washington.