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“Reach For The Stars” Fundraising Concert Excites Audience, Nears Goal

Young musicians from Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools joined industry professionals to present the second annual Music Is Instrumental fundraising concert, Reach For The Stars, on Friday evening, March 8, at Burbank High School’s Wolfson Auditorium.

Conducted by internationally known maestro Anthony Parnther, the young instrumentalists and vocalists were mentored throughout the performance by seasoned musicians from the Musicians At Play Foundation.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Film composer Michael Giacchino (Star Trek, Incredibles, Up) made a surprise appearance to kick off the second half of the concert and the performance of “Star Trek Suite,” featuring themes from Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond.

“The Musicians at Play’s music mentorship program gives students the opportunity to sit next to L.A.’s finest professional film and concert musicians,” commented Musicians at Play founder and professional timpanist Don Williams. “Students learn musical and professional skills they can apply to a professional music career or any career path they choose. Professional mentoring transforms careers and changes lives.”

Film composer Michael Giacchino made a surprise appearance at the “Reach For The Stars” fundraising concert. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Actor Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, emceed the evening.

A silent auction and online auction were held, with items including an original Star Wars music score signed by John Williams, an Up movie score signed by Giacchino and musical instruments signed by various popular musicians.

Nearly $60,000 of the original $75,000 fundraising goal was raised from donations, ticket sales, musical instrument adoption, and the silent auction. Work to reach the $75,000 goal, which will go to support instrumental and vocal music programs at Burbank and Burroughs, continues.

“We are continuing the effort online and plan to extend opportunities for instrument and equipment adoption,” commented Peggy Flynn, Burbank Unified Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator.

Donations can still be made via PayPal online here.

Conductor Anthony Parnther at work with the Burbank musicians and industry professionals from Musicians At Play Foundation. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“We are so grateful to the Musicians at Play Foundation, the MAP mentors, our sponsors and all who attended the Music Is Instrumental benefit concert – together they made this opportunity possible,” Flynn commented. “Our students grew artistically and experienced firsthand what can be accomplished when we join forces around one important cause.”

“Music education is about more than aspiring to be a performer,” she added. “It teaches collaboration, innovation, patience, persistence and self-discipline. We are thrilled to have made progress towards our fundraising goal and so proud that we all did this together!”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Musicians At Play founders Don and April Williams and the Foundation musicians lent their support to the 2018 Music Is Instrumental benefit concert, which raised more than $132,000 for instrument repair and replacement. BUSD aims to raise $1.2 million over 10 years for instrument repair and replacement.

With BUSD facing budget cuts to offset pension costs, the district’s high school instrumental and vocal music programs viewed the March 8 concert as a way to raise needed funds for their ongoing programs.

Burroughs vocal music teacher Brendan Jennings directed the Reach For The Stars concert and the other departments, led by Burroughs instrumental teacher Taylor Arakelian, Burbank High instrumental teacher Justin Klotzle and Burbank choir teacher Brett Carroll, all worked together to put on the show.

The MAP Foundation has provided mentors for BUSD high school musicians for three years, with last year providing the first collaborative concert. In addition to standard high school repertoire, the Foundation mentors have added in crowd-pleasing favorites from the film scoring world.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“It is also important for students to play music that they ordinarily wouldn’t get to play,” added Williams. “John Williams and Michael Giacchino soundtrack music is the soundtrack of young peoples and adult lives.”

“Learning from the same musicians that played on the films is so important for them not just musically but for the life skills they acquire by watching professionals do their work. This experience with the mentors will help carry them through life as well.”

“Over the past three years, many students have used this experience as a platform to reach their college goals and professional career paths,” he also said. “Community support of instruments for the BUSD programs is crucial in giving the tools needed for students to reap the rewards of the program.”


“Reach For The Stars”: BUSD Raises Funds For High School Music Programs

The vocal and instrumental music programs at Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools join forces and Reach For The Stars with a highly anticipated fundraising concert on Friday, March 8, at Burbank High’s Wolfson Auditorium. Students and supporters gathered Sunday, March 3, to raise funds at California Pizza Kitchen and kick off a week of heightened awareness for the upcoming concert.

The concert includes performances by Burbank and Burroughs bands and choirs, some of whom are mentored this year by the industry professionals from the Musicians at Play Foundation.

The second half of the concert, conducted once again by Anthony Parnther, internationally renowned maestro from the London Philharmonic, features iconic works by John Williams and Michael Giacchino.

Don and April Williams, founders of Musicians At Play Foundation, are joined by Peggy Flynn, BUSD Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator, to promote the upcoming “Reach For The Stars” concert to raise funds for Burbank high school music programs. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Musicans At Play founder and professional timpanist Don Williams reprises his role as the annual concert’s special guest.

Last year’s Music Is Instrumental concert, held in May 2018, was a resounding success, by both artistically wowing the audience and financially bringing in more than $132,000 for musical instrument repair and replacement.

This year, the Burbank and Burroughs choirs and bands have taken leadership of the event, explained Peggy Flynn, Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator for the Burbank Unified School District.

Proceeds from the March 8 concert will be used for instrument repair and replacement and for essential performance equipment for the BHS and JBHS auditoriums, she added.

Students and supporters of Music Is Instrumental program and the “Reach For The Stars” concert raise some funds at California Pizza Kitchen for Burbank and Burroughs High Schools’ music programs. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Tickets are available at www.busdarts.com and the online auction is also live for pre-event viewing and bidding. Donations and sponsorships are welcomed and can be made online as well. The online auction runs through 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9.

VIP tickets are $40 each and include assigned orchestra and balcony seating and an intermission reception with food and entertainment. Instrument and equipment adoptions will also be available at the event.

Peggy Flynn, BUSD Arts & Career Technical Education Coordinator, with Don Williams, professional timpanist and Musicians At Play founder. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

General admission seating is $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

The Burbank High School instrumental program is led by Justin Klotzle and choir program by Brett Carroll. Burroughs High School’s instrumental program is headed by Taylor Arakelian and choir by Brendan Jennings, who is also directing the Reach For The Stars concert. JBHS VMA parent Jessica Good chairs the event.

The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 8. Burbank High School is located at 902 N. Third Street in Burbank.

High School Flash Mob Announces Music Is Instrumental Benefit Concert

About 150 vocal and instrumental music students from Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools caused a buzz at the Burbank Town Center with a holiday music flash mob on Wednesday afternoon, December 19.

Shoppers stopped in their tracks to listen to the young carolers and musicians fill the three levels of the Town Center mall atrium with popular holiday songs.

Burbank and John Burroughs High School vocal and instrumental music students filled the atrium of the Town Center mall with music for a holiday flash mob. (Photo By Ross Benson.)

The schools’ Vocal Music and Instrumental Music program teachers joined forces to spread awareness of the upcoming March 8, 2019, music program benefit concert and hold a toy drive partnering with Burbank Police and Fire Departments.

Proceeds from the second annual benefit concert will go to support both Burbank and Burroughs’ high school music programs. The first annual benefit concert, held May 11, raised more than $120,000.

“Burbank has a long history of some of the nation’s top music programs,” commented Burroughs vocal music teacher Brendan Jennings. “We are coming together now to ensure the future stays bright for BUSD students.”

(Photo By Ross Benson.)

Jennings noted the concert is currently seeking sponsors and both general admission and VIP tickets are on sale now online.

The March 8 concert, “Reach For The Stars,” will feature compositions by John Williams (Star Wars, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) and Michael Giacchino (Star Trek.) The benefit concert will again be produced in collaboration with the professional musician mentors of the Musicians at Play Foundation.

More information on the March 8 concert can be found at www.busdarts.com.