Tag Archives: music

BUSD Music Education Headlines Burbank Arts For All Meeting

A standing-room only crowd spilled out into the hallway, as interested parents, school board officials, city council and school board hopefuls, Burbank Unified teachers and administrators and Burbank Arts For All Foundation members listened to a panel discuss BUSD music education Wednesday evening, January 21, in Roosevelt Elementary’s music room.

Moderated by BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford, the panel of BUSD Visual/Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, Burbank High School music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School band director Dr. John Whitener and elementary school music teacher Steven Hollis discussed the current status of music education in Burbank schools.

BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford moderates the Music Education panel at the Community Meeting Wednesday evening, January 21. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford (standing) moderates the Music Education panel at the Community Meeting Wednesday evening, January 21. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Flynn gave a brief outline of the history of BUSD music education programs over the past two decades. She emphasized that the second most requested item for funding in the LCAP survey held in 2014 was more music education in the schools.

Flynn noted that the priority placed on music education by parents, teachers and members of the community in the LCAP survey resulted in the hiring of two additional music teachers at the elementary level by the district for the 2014-15 school year, with plans to hire an additional teacher for the 2016-17 school year.

Currently, Burbank Unified provides weekly general music instruction for grades two through five, with plans to add weekly music instruction for Kindergarten and first-graders district-wide.

After weekly elementary music instruction is implemented and sustainable, Flynn said, adding string programs to Luther, Jordan and Burroughs and weekly instrumental instruction beginning in grade five and adding younger grades, working backward, would be goals. She did acknowledge those additional goals were not easily obtainable with current funding.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Meeting Music Education in BUSD Panel (from left to right): BUSD Visual/Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, Burbank High School Music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School Band Director Dr. John Whitener and Elementary Music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Meeting Music Education in BUSD Panel (from left to right): BUSD Visual/Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, Burbank High School music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School band director Dr. John Whitener and elementary music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Muir Middle School and Burbank High School have string, vocal and band music programs. Luther and Jordan Middle Schools and Burroughs High School have band and vocal music programs.

The three BUSD teachers on the panel talked about the importance of music in the school curriculum and discussed aspects of their teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Hollis mentioned that during the school year when students start learning about fractions in math class, he starts to see “light bulbs going off” in his music students, as they relate fractions to note values. He also sees connections and overlap with his music class and topics students learn not only in math, but in history and language arts.

Standing-room only crowd fills the Roosevelt Elementary music room at the BAFA Music Education Community Meeting. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Standing-room only crowd fills the Roosevelt Elementary music room at the BAFA Music Education Community Meeting. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Whitener discussed the comprehensive band program at Jordan, noting that while “the vast majority of students in middle and high school music programs don’t go into music after school, they do become consumers of music” and perhaps continue to play an instrument for fun or in a garage band.

“We want to equip them with the information and techniques and skills they have to apply to any style of music,” Whitener added, explaining he teaches students to be more musically literate with information that can apply to any instrument.

“You can’t just work all your life, you need something else going on in your life and to express yourself creatively… and music is the perfect thing for that,” said Whitener.

Stanley highlighted Burbank High’s award-winning music program, with band, jazz, string and AP Music Theory classes. Students who get As in the theory class tend to score fours and fives on the AP test, he said.

The BHS string program is currently studying chamber music, Stanley said, adding that such a focus requires students learn to work together and work with people, skills that are applicable to the wider world and not just relegated to chamber music groups.

(from left to right) Burbank High School Music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School Band Director Dr. John Whitener and Elementary Music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(from left to right) Burbank High School music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School band director Dr. John Whitener and elementary music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The addition of two music teachers to the elementary school rotation has been huge, acknowledged Hollis. Whereas in previous years he was seeing 2000 different students every other week, now he teaches the same 1000 students every week. He sees the children remember more from previous classes and are learning more.

Flynn noted that a VH-1 Save the Music grant and support from the Education Through Music – LA foundation have helped provide weekly music programs at Providencia and Washington Elementary Schools, in addition to a fourth and fifth-grade string program at Providencia. Leadership Burbank 2013 also donated violins to a fledgling string program at Roosevelt Elementary.

Flynn encouraged parents and community members to speak with their principals and school music teachers about the creation of sustainable music programs at individual schools, answering parent concerns the lack of string music programs at Luther, Jordan and Burroughs. She mentioned the City of Burbank is discussing creating an all-city orchestra, as a possible option.

Ultimately, the hiring of more music teachers throughout the district is the best possible remedy for growing music education, Flynn said.

“There’s no substitute for having a music class taught by a professional music teacher,” she explained.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Meeting Music Education in BUSD Panel (from left to right): BUSD Visual/Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, Burbank High School Music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School Band Director Dr. John Whitener and Elementary Music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Meeting Music Education in BUSD Panel (from left to right): BUSD Visual/Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, Burbank High School music teacher Michael Stanley, Jordan Middle School band director Dr. John Whitener and elementary music teacher Steven Hollis. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

BAFA Community Outreach Co-Chair Suzanne Weerts opened the meeting, noting the attendance of four sitting Burbank Board of Education members: Dave Kemp, Ted Bunch, Charlene Tabet and Dr. Roberta Reynolds, who is also running to extend her term on the Board. Weerts also welcomed the attendance of additional candidates for the school board, including Steve Ferguson, Dr.  Armond Aghakhanian,  Vahe Hovanessian and Greg Sousa, along with Burbank City Council candidates Chris Rizzotti and Sharon Springer.

BUSD Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Dr. Tom Kissinger and Director of Instruction and Accountability Sharon Cuseo, along with numerous school principals and teachers also attended the community meeting.

The BAFA Community Meeting was held in Roosevelt Elementary’s new music room, which was remodeled with a $10,000 grant from Ikea. Roosevelt’s music room is the only dedicated elementary music room in the district.

Disney Composer Richard Sherman And Burbank Music Teacher Steven Hollis Honored

Legendary Disney composer Richard M. Sherman and Burbank music teacher Steven Hollis were honored Sunday evening, December 7, at the Education Through Music – Los Angeles’ Ninth Annual Benefit Gala. Held at the Skirball Cultural Center, Sherman and Hollis were presented with Shining Star awards, recognizing their contributions to music and music education over the years.

Students from Burbank’s Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School joined children from other elementary schools throughout Los Angeles that participate in ETM-LA music programs for a rousing rendition of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” with Hollis playing piano.

Burbank music teacher Steven Hollis accompanies a group of Burbank and Los Angeles-area children singing "Let's Go Fly A Kite," in honor of composer Richard M. Sherman. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank music teacher Steven Hollis accompanies a group of Burbank and Los Angeles-area children singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” in honor of composer Richard M. Sherman. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sherman, the Academy Award-winning composer and lyricist, who, with his brother Robert, wrote the songs for many Disney films including Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh. They also wrote scores and songs for many other productions, such as the enduring film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, starring Dick Van Dyke.

The Sherman Brothers also composed the most translated song in the world, “It’s A Small World (After All),” for the Disneyland theme park attraction.

“I felt very fortunate as a young man because of the fact that music was a part of the academic career,” commented Sherman. “Unfortunately today, we don’t have the funding we should have. I’m happy to know that Education Through Music-Los Angeles is now working constantly, bringing the wonderful gift of music to youngsters because it’s so vital – it’s so important.”

Academy Award-winning composer Richard M. Sherman with a group of Burbank and Los Angeles schoolchildren on the Education Through Music- LA red carpet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Academy Award-winning composer Richard M. Sherman with a group of Burbank and Los Angeles schoolchildren on the Education Through Music- LA red carpet. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sherman played a medley of several of his famous songs, peppered with anecdotes, including a story about how he met with Walt Disney in his office at the Burbank studios every Friday afternoon and they would talk about their projects. Every week, Sherman said, Disney would eventually look up towards the Burbank Verdugos and ask Sherman to “play it” – “Feed The Birds” – Disney’s favorite song.

“I think music is a unifier. It’s something that gives people a sense of teamwork,” Sherman continued. “They learn how glorious it is to hear the various parts blending together. It’s a wonderful exultation of the human spirit.”

Actor Josh Gad sings "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book to the song's composer/lyricist Richard M. Sherman at the Education Through Music - LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Actor Josh Gad sings “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book to the song’s composer/lyricist Richard M. Sherman at the Education Through Music – LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Hollis teaches at three Burbank Unified School District sites: Roosevelt, McKinley and Edison. He works with over a 1000 students every week. Up until last year and the advent of additional funding for music programs, he taught close to 2000 BUSD students every week. While he teaches general music programs at McKinley and Edison, Hollis instructs the pilot ukelele program at Roosevelt Elementary.

Hollis points to the introduction of deaf and hard of hearing students into his school music classes, the implementation an integrated music, art, drama and dance curriculum for FAME (Fine Arts Methods in Education) and the development of a web site for engaged learning using Blues music and improvisation techniques as some of his most rewarding accomplishments.

Ryan Brophy, Melody Hollis, Mitch Hollis, Dawn Hollis and Shining Star honoree Steven Hollis at the Education Through Music - LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Ryan Brophy, Melody Hollis, Mitch Hollis, Dawn Hollis and Shining Star honoree Steven Hollis at the Education Through Music – LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

A professional pianist for more than 35 years, Hollis has performed as a solo artist and a member of a 16-piece show band, playing alongside Marvin Hamlish, Smokey Robinson, The Gatlin Brothers and Joan Rivers. He holds degrees of Bachelor of Music Education in Vocal/Instrumental K-12 and Masters of Arts with a music curriculum emphasis.

Hollis has taught for nearly 20 years, mainly in the Chicago area. He has taught music for BUSD for the past six years. He also teaches over 30 students  piano, voice, percussion, theory and guitar lessons from his studio on Olive Avenue in Burbank, Steve Hollis Music.

Shining Star honoree Richard M. Sherma, ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier, Michael Giacchino (ETM-LA Advisory Board), actor Josh Gad and John Debney (ETM-LA Honorary Chair) on the red carpet at the Education Through Music - LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Shining Star honoree Richard M. Sherma, ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier, Michael Giacchino (ETM-LA Advisory Board), actor Josh Gad and John Debney (ETM-LA Honorary Chair) on the red carpet at the Education Through Music – LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Honorary chairs of the gala included music education champions and celebrities such as Ellie Kemper, Ed Helms, John Debney, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Michael Feinstein, Michael Giacchino, Richard Kraft and Laura Engel, Christopher Lennertz, Alice and Leonard Maltin, Rickey Minor, Randy Spendlove and the Honorable Zev Yaroslavsky.

Other special presenters and performers featured were Josh Gad, (Actor/Singer, Olaf – Disney’s Frozen), Grammy Award-winning R&B/Pop Group All for One, Evelyn Halus, Karen Dotrice (Actress, Jane Banks – Mary Poppins) and Dr. Tom Kissinger, Assistant Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District.

Children from Burbank and Los Angeles public schools sing "Let's Go Fly A Kite" with Shining Star honoree Steven Hollis on piano. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Children from Burbank and Los Angeles public schools sing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” with Shining Star honoree Steven Hollis on piano. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

At the end of the evening, the Roosevelt Elementary School students joined Sherman onstage for an “It’s A Small World (After All)” sing-a-long with the audience.

Proceeds from the event benefit ETM-LA, a nonprofit organization provides music instruction and programs to more than 7000 children. The organization hopes to add another 1000 children to the tally by 2015.

Each year, ETM-LA celebrates two Shining Star honorees, a composer and a teacher, whose contributions through music have had great impact. Last year, ETM-LA honored David Starr Jordan Middle School teacher Christine DeMore and composer John Debney.

Actor Josh Gad visited with the young performers in the green room ahead of the 2014 Education Through Music - LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Actor Josh Gad visited with the young performers in the green room ahead of the 2014 Education Through Music – LA gala. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Native Julie Adams Wins Grand Prize At Metropolitan Opera Finals

Burbank native Julie Adams was awarded the top prize at Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert. Along with four other grand prize winners, she was chosen from more than 1500 initial applicants from throughout the United States and Canada.

The Grand Finals Concert on March 31 featured the top nine singers, all in their twenties. Each competitor sang two arias with the Met Opera Orchestra. Adams received huge applause from the packed house.

Soprano Julie Adams with her grandfather, Daniel Savant. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Soprano Julie Adams at the Metropolitan Opera House with her grandfather, Daniel Savant, and 80 year resident of Burbank. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Adams “impressed me as the most mature of the winners with her elegant account of an aria from Debussy’s lyric cantata L’ Enfant Prodigue and an affecting performance of Mimi’s ‘Donde lieta uscì’ from Puccini’s La Bohème,” said Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. “Her voice is rich, full and slightly earthy in an expressive way.”

Julie Adams and mother Lisa. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Julie Adams and mother Lisa. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

“Winning this competition was absolutely surreal. I am so honored and humbled to have had the experience that I did,” commented Adams. “[It] gave me great exposure to people in the opera world. Many agents, managers and opera companies were in the audience that day, and just to be able to sing for them was a dream come true.”

Growing up in a musical family in Burbank, she always loved to sing, Adams recalled. She started taking voice lessons in second grade.

“I sang in my second grade talent show, and have been singing ever since,” she added. “I was lucky to have gone to schools that have wonderful music programs.”

“Burbank is very lucky to have such wonderful music programs in their schools,” Adams also said. “I was really able to develop as an artist through my experiences in choir at John Muir and BHS.”

Julie Adams with her parents, Lisa and Mark Adams. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Julie Adams with her parents at the Met. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Adams participated in show choir at Muir Middle School and Burbank High School through tenth grade. In eleventh grade, Adams transferred to L.A. County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for their musical theater and opera program.

Adams performed in her first opera at LACHSA and graduated in 2006. She then studied vocal performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for both undergraduate and graduate work. Adams graduated with her Masters of the Arts in vocal performance in May 2013.

The soprano has been studying with her teacher, Cesar Ulloa, for over six years. With his guidance, she chose four arias to prepare for the Met competition.

Adams credits regular daily practice for ensuring she was in peak form and comfortable with her performance selections.

“I am over the moon with excitement for my daughter,” commented Adams’ mother Lisa Adams. “As a mother, it is so rewarding to watch your child accomplish their dreams. I am beyond proud and thankful to all who have supported and brought her this far.”

Adams also recently won the 2014 Hennings-Fischer Competition held by the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. She will perform with the orchestra at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty in May 2015.

At the end of May, Adams heads to San Francisco to perform in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola program, from June to mid-August. She will sing the role of Blanche DuBois in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Joan Rivers with Cesar Ulloa, Julie Adams' teacher, in the audience at the Metropolitan Opera. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

Joan Rivers with Cesar Ulloa, Julie Adams’ teacher, in the audience at the Metropolitan Opera. (Photo Courtesy of the Adams Family)

 

St. Patrick’s Day in Burbank: Let’s Have Some Fun Irish Style

 

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Check out our local bars and pubs for some fun things to do in Burbank on St. Patrick’s Day.

Story Tavern: 2-day celebration, Irish menu and live Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day

Timmy Nolan’s: St. Patrick’s Day party

Lucy’s 51: Irish food, drink specials, live music

Wokano: Happy Hour all night

Joe’s Great American Bar and Grill: Traditional Irish music

Getting ready for Burbank's night life on Monday March 17th,  St. Patrick's Day sporting some green eye shadow is Burbank resident Angela your personal makeup artist. You can follow Angela Mobile Makeup on Facebook and Instagram (AngelaMobileMakeup) for additional makeup looks as well as professional tips and tricks. Her Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMobileMakeup and her Instagram link:http://instagram.com/angelamobilemakeup .

Getting ready for Burbank’s night life on Monday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, is Burbank resident Angela your personal makeup artist. Sporting some green eye shadow, you can follow Angela Mobile Makeup on Facebook and Instagram (AngelaMobileMakeup) for additional makeup looks as well as professional tips and tricks. Her Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMobileMakeup and her Instagram link is http://instagram.com/angelamobilemakeup www.AngelaMobileMakeup.com

The Snug: Green beer, Irish food, bagpipes

Tinhorn Flats: Irish food, drink specials

Burbank Bar and Grille: Drink specials

Viva Cantina: Live music

The Ramp: Irish Food, Drink Specials

If you know of a place in Burbank with a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration, let us know on twitter @myBurbankNights! This page will be updated as needed.

Southern California Band Galvanized Souls Brings New Meaning to Music

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Photo By: Jared Sagal – Rockerrazzi Media

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to some great new music by the band, Galvanized Souls.

A self-described “modern grunge” band, Galvanized Souls is a breath of fresh air in an industry where technology largely dominates vocals. Natives of Southern California, Galvanized Souls is made up of four members, all who were introduced to music at an early age.

Galvanized Souls plays across Southern California, and were recently crowned the winners of the 2013 Thousand Oaks Battle of the Bands. The band just released a self-titled, five track EP.

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Photo By: Jared Sagal – Rockerrazzi Media

Listening to the EP, I felt as if their music transcends time. Their punk/grunge quality is reminiscent of the 1990’s, with hints of Nirvana, yet can eclipse through time with their heavy guitar sound and clear, harmonized vocals.

My favorite song on the EP is “Shut You Down.” The vocals are really the focal point of the music, and the clarity of the overall sound is attractive and engaging. The main vocalist in the song has a Kurt Cobain-like drawl, really relishing each word and note. That distinct sound is incredibly captivating.

Each song in the EP is well-balanced and alluring, but what interests me the most is the nuance to their music. Each song encompasses a different style and almost a different genre. This layered and nuanced touch to their music is what makes them unique. Band members Matt DeMartini and Chris Traylor said their distinct sound is what distinguishes them from other bands.

“We think it is cool that people cannot categorize our music because that may set us apart from the pack,” they said an email interview.

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Photo By: Jared Sagal – Rockerrazzi Media

Their talent is clear, and as soon as I finished the last song in the EP, I hit repeat and listened to the entire CD again, an obvious indicator of really great music.

In addition to their original songs, Galvanized Souls also covers Cher’s “Believe” and recently released the music video. The video focuses on troubled teens and shares an important message about helping others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=—o__ob6rM&list=TL-WPmTukDUxi4OnDC7S5PlmHgD3GEDgf6

DeMartini and Traylor said the music video for “Believe” was meant to help young adults who may be dealing with difficult issues.

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Photo By: Jared Sagal – Rockerrazzi Media

“We have also seen a lot of people committing self-harm and if we can help just one person with this video, it would be all worth it,” they said. “We think there is a big crisis out there and not enough people recognize the importance of the issue of troubled teens.”

They also recognize that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young adults, and wish to try and spread the message of hope and help. “Believe” is a beautiful video, highlighting the importance of recognizing warning signs and helping others to believe in getting better.

I’m impressed by Galvanized Souls for many reasons. Their music is undeniably good. Their talent is palpable. But even more impressive is their passion for reaching people through the power of music.

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Photo By: Jared Sagal – Rockerrazzi Media

Galvanized Souls is currently independent and have not yet signed with a record company. They play around the Southern California area and hope to tour in 2014.

Galvanized Souls has upcoming shows in Camarillo, Los Angeles and Orange.

For more information about the band and for a list of their upcoming shows, please visit their website at http://galvanizedsouls.com.

For their music videos, check out their YouTube site at http://www.youtube.com/user/GalvanizedSouls?feature=watch

Leadership Burbank Presents Donation to Burbank Schools

On Thursday, August 15 the Leadership Burbank Class of 2013 proudly presented Washington Elementary School’s principal, Brandi Young and the Burbank Unified School Board a check for over $11,000 to be used in support of a new K-5 music program.

This donation is in addition to the 31 violins and 40 music stands also donated by the Leadership Burbank Class of 2013 to support music programs at Providencia Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

“Jefferson Jams” Was a True Music Event for Fans of All Ages

Booths were set up for sales of Jefferson Tee Shirts and other goodies. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Friday night was a great night for rock and roll in Burbank as students showed their musical side at Jefferson Elementary School in Burbank.

Student bands performed for friends and family who were also able to grab some snacks from the food trucks.

The Boosters put on the event to help raise funds for the school.

 

They were Rockin’ and Rollin’ at Jefferson’s Jams this past week. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

It was a packed house, well field, for Fiday night’s Jefferson Jams. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Funnel Cake was one of the food trucks that were on the playground supporting Jefferson Jams, held this past Friday evening. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

McKinley Elementary School Develops Character Through Music

McKinley Elementary School musical performance is meant to be a fun assignment after state testing, but third- and fourth-grade students also learn about taking responsibility, accepting people from all walks of life and forgiving people who make mistakes. Teachers say students remember things from the plays that come up in the classroom.

 

By Joyce Rudolph
BurbankNBeyond

 

Three classes at McKinley Elementary School gave their parents and siblings a lesson in building positive traits with an after-school musical performance titled “Character Matters.”

Character Matters Cast. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

About 90 students, representing two fourth-grade classes and one third-grade class, took part in the production, said Cherie Wescott, who produced the musical along with Mr. Danielson, Mrs. D’Mello and Mrs. Fuentez.

“Every year we get together and do one of these at the end of the year,” she said. “We just find it is a nice way to wind things up for the kids and after all the hard work of state testing it gives them a little relaxation. It is something fun for them to do every year.”

The topic was combining favorite fairy tales with lessons on building good character.

The Princess and Frog played by: Victoria Valenzuela,Gemma Maginnis,Marion Hunter and Frog Prince Hamlet Murazan. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We purchased this play from a company in Camarillo,” Wescott said. “We have a selection of these musical performances we have purchased from them. We did this one about four years ago. We try to do a different one each year.”

Wescott believes the youngsters take what they’ve learned from the plays and apply it to the classroom curriculum.

“In the past we did a play about the western movement and they will come back the next year when it’s part of the social studies curriculum and they say they remember when the same things were mentioned in the play,” she said.

The chorus of the song that runs through the entire production hits a poignant note.

“Character matters, you must care how you act. Character matters, as a matter of fact. Character matters, ’cause you are what you choose. Character matters, it’s one thing you can’t lose.”

In one skit, “Magic Mirrors,” three students~Robert McGraham, Kate Outwater and Troy Outwater ~ wear cardboard squares covered in a reflective material, in a take on the story of “Snow White.”

The final line says “Honesty is the fairest of all.”

Humpty Friends John Alajijian and Christopher Hawandjian. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In another scene, Richard Solano plays Jack and Brandin Gustafson is the giant from “Jack and the Bean Stalk.”

“I learned that you don’t judge someone by how they look, but by asking them questions and finding out something about them,” Richard Solano said.

The final line is “Differences can be scary, but it’s cool.”

Parent Fran Martin said she was impressed with the acting. Her favorite scene was the one about Humpty Dumpty and his friends, she said.

“It was about taking responsibility and the little girl was blaming everyone but herself,” Martin said. “I thought that was really cute.”

Funny man Ed Helms Stops By Providencia Elementary for Laughs and a Lesson in Music

The multi-talented, Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover 1 & 2, and The Lorax) visited Providencia Elementary School this week to promote music programs within the local districts.

Lonesome Trio introduces our local kids to bluegrass music. (Photo by Deborah Dodge)

As an advisory board member of Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA ), Helms and
his band, “Lonesome Trio” were invited to perform for local Burbank children. The Providencia Elementary students were the recent winners of an online contest that involved 9 other schools
from surrounding areas, including other Burbank schools, Los Angeles and Compton Unified.
Lonesome Trio gave two performances and showed off their original bluegrass tunes. One performance was geared for the younger kids (K-2nd) and one for the older kids (3rd-5th).  Before the singing began, Helms introduced his band mates and explained which musical instruments they would be playing and what they were called.

(L-R) Jacob Tilov, Music Director Victoria Lanier, Ian Riggs, Principal Jennifer Culbertson. and Ed Helms (Photo by Deborah Dodge)

The first was Helms’ guitar, which all kids seemed very familiar with. The second was the soft-sounding, melodic mandolin, played by Jacob Tilove and the third and final instrument was the
deep-sounding bass, played by Ian Riggs. When Riggs walked out on stage with the giant, wooden bass the little K-2nd graders gasped and a sea of, “woahs” filled the air. The unexpected reaction from the kid-filled audience made the teachers and the trio chuckle a bit. It is all perspective; the bass was bigger than any child in the entire room. Picking up on their amazement and being the famous comedian he is, Helms quickly joked, “ After you play the bass, you can then take a nap in it”. His impromptu one-liners kept the young belly laughs rolling.

Being a smaller school, it was a huge accomplishment to win the online contest. Ten schools in total, vied for the honor to have Helms visit their school. (Photo by Deborah Dodge)

Riggs gave a sample of what a bass sounds like by playing a few funky low-notes, which got the kids all snapping as if they were tiny beatniks transported from the late 1950’s.

After the quick lesson on the names of instruments, Tilov, Riggs and Helms started out with a funny song about ‘being a family, eating Cheetos and fighting about the car’. The upbeat, acoustic song made the children clap, sway back and forth, sing and laugh.  After they finished performing three kid-friendly songs, Helms opened up the floor to some questions.

During the Q & period, Helms asked if any of them had seen, “The Lorax”. When a field of tiny hands shot up in the air, he then had them guessing which character he had played. The hint was to recite

The very well-mannered students wait their turn to ask Ed Helms questions about his career in music and acting. (Photo By Deborah Dodge)

one of his lines from the movie as, the “Once-ler”. The kids all cheered once they were able to put the voice with the face.

One gregarious 5th grader raised his hand and asked the inevitable and unavoidable question, “Was it fun being in, The Hangover”? Helms sheepishly admitted he had starred in the smash adult-comedy hit, and then replied in a very humorous manner by saying, “It’s a movie none of you should know about…” This time, the adults gave a knowing laugh as most shook their heads and smiled.

He continued to discuss how music in schools is so important to children and their development. Helms shared his advice by saying, “I love to play music as you’ve just heard and I think it’s very important. It’s something you all should

(L-R) Stan Carrizosa (Superintendent), Ed Helms, Peggy Flynn (Arts Coordinator) and Tom Kissinger (Director of Elementary Education) (Photo by Deborah Dodge)

foster, work on and try to get better at. Music is something you can take with you throughout your entire life.”

When asked about the music program and how Helms got involved, Victoria Lanier, the Executive Director of ETM-LA expressed, “Our mission is to promote and provide music education in disadvantaged schools as part of the core curriculum to enhance students’ academic achievement, and creative and overall development.  As an advisory Board Member of Education Through  Music-Los Angeles, Ed Helms is a huge advocate of music education for all children and champion of our mission. This visit is a part of the vital work we do to nurture our students’ development and achievement through music –

Jacob Tilov sits down as a 5 yr-old fan thanks him for visiting his school. (Photo by Deborah Dodge)

to provide quality yearlong, sequential and comprehensive music instruction to disadvantaged school as well as to inspire the children through special guest artist visits. Education Through Music-L conceived of the contest to decide which school would receive the visit, to get the school communities involved and engaged in their music programs, and to help spread the word about the mission of ensuring in-school music education for every child.”

In a world where budget cuts are unfortunately very common and music being one of the first programs to be eliminated, we as a community are thankful to ETM-LA for inviting Ed Helms and band mates, Jacob Tilove and Ian Riggs, to share their talent, time and words of wisdom with the students at Providencia Elementary School.

Film and TV and star, Ed Helms talks to our local students about the importance of music in schools. His quick-wit and improv expertise kept the kids' attention throughout the assembly.

Research has shown that music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.  Perhaps these little minds from Providencia Elementary will soon pick up an instrument and explore the musician inside each of them. I know some have already started playing and let’s hope they continue to develop their own special musical talents.

There are many reasons for students to explore the world of music: Music study changes the brain and makes kids smarter, teaches them discipline, a sense of achievement, and it’s fun! Adults can benefit from learning to play an instrument too because it helps the mind to be alert and remain active eventually helping to sharpen the memory. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

People can learn more about Education Through Music-Los Angeles’ programs by

visiting:
www.etmla.org
www.facebook.com/etmla (Facebook)
@ETMLosAngeles (Twitter)

You can also check out Ed Helms’ band at:
www.LonesomeTrio.com

Providencia Elementary School, ETM-LA and the very talented, Lonesome Trio pose for the camera. (Photo By Deborah Dodge)

Academy Award Winner Inspires Students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary

Michael Giacchino answers a question or two from students ( (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Academy Award-Winning Composer and Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Advisory Board Member Michael Giacchino went back to elementary school, joining a violin class — his first ever!

Giacchino  spent time on January 24, with the 4th and 5th graders at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School, discussing his career writing music in Hollywood.  He hoped to inspire young music students to follow their dreams whatever they may be.

Best known for his exciting scores for major box office hits and top TV shows like
Mission Impossible IV”, “The Incredibles”,  and “UP” (for which he won an Academy Award in 2009), Giacchino is also a devoted educator. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for Education Through Music-LA, a non-profit program dedicated to promoting the integration of music into the curriculum of Los Angeles-area elementary and middle schools with low-income student poopulations.

Michael Giacchino directs Bobby Shulgold while students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School listen intently. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

 

Education Through Music-LA partnered with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Burbank Unified Arts for All to provide instrumental music education to students at Providencia Elementary this year.

With the help of clips from his acclaimed Disney/Pixar films “Up” and “Cars 2″, Giacchino playfully shared what it takes to make movie magic happen. On his role as a composer, Giacchino shared how important communication is.

“It’s so important to be clear about what you’re feeling,” said Giacchino,  “Music is a guide for your emotions. I have to tailor my music to fit the scene perfectly.”

He presented two versions of a cue from “Up” and engaged the students in a discussion about which musical arrangement truly expressed the meaning behind the scene. Giacchino also invited studio flutist Bobby Shugold to play cues from “Up” as the students commented on what feelings they experienced when the music was played differently each time.

All Michael Giacchino had to say was tjat he worked with Salena and the girls were all ears at Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Students were captivated and inspired, as well as curious, about all aspects of Giacchino’s life. When asked, “Do you hang out with celebrities?”  Giacchino joked, “Yeah…Tom Cruise is waiting in the car. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are probably considered celebrities, but when I’m with them, we’re just people making a movie…we don’t really think of it that way.”

Another student inquired, “How do you come up with all that music?” Giacchino laughed, “They made me! The trick is, always make sure the job you take is something that will inspire you.”

Every student at Providencia Elementary School receives weekly music education throughout the school year through the ETM-LA program. “This type of program would not be possible in this fiscal climate without incredible partners”, said Burbank Unified School Distict Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn. Providencia principal Jennifer Culbertson added, “The entire Providencia community is so grateful to Burbank Arts For All, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and Education Through Music-LA, for this amazing music program.  Our students will not soon forget the time they spent with Mr. Giacchino — and neither will I.”

Clips from some of Michael Giacchino movie work had the full attention of 4th and 5th graders at Providencia Elementary School. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Giacchino has long been an advocate for the importance of music in a child’s education. Executive Director of ETM-LA, Victoria Lanier shared, “We are grateful to Michael for championing our mission. All kids out there deserve to have music be a real and lasting part of their development and lives.” On a recent Good Morning America interview, Giacchinol asserted, “Music and art aren’t these frivolous extras that you get by going to school. They’re a necessity. They’re actually as big a part of learning as math and science.” From the smiles and joy on the kids’ faces, Giacchino’s visit was an inspiration to the kids at Providencia. Mission accomplished.

Michael Giacchino, Academy Award-Winning Composer, poses with future award winners at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)