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March 26, 2008 > Telethon targets $75,000 for band program

Telethon targets $75,000 for band program

By Sam Rao

A local group has made it their mission to encourage school children to play musical instruments all-year round. Parents of 4th, 5th and 6th graders are happy and so are their neighbors and the community.

Fremont Education Foundation's (FEF) Music Telethon 2008 on Tuesday, April 1st and Thursday, April 3rd, between 5:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. is a chance for everyone to learn more about this program and provide support. The FEF Music Telethon goal this year is to raise $75,000 for the After-School Band Program available free of charge to any 4th, 5th and 6th grade student in the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD). All the funds required for this program are raised each year during the annual Music Telethon - no Federal, State or District funds are used.

The first televised Music Telethon was held in 2000 and funded 27 bands in the 2000-01 school year. Since then new features, new volunteers and new ideas have been incorporated but the focus remains on school children, many who begin playing an instrument for the first time. Forty-three band classes are currently offered at all 27 FUSD elementary schools; classes are added when there is the demand.

The program runs for 24 weeks and includes at least one spring concert. "We would love to add up to 6 more weeks of instruction so that the kids can play in the bands all the way until June when school gets out. Currently, they end classes in late April. We can add these weeks if we exceed our $75,000 goal" said Ms York.

Each high school attendance area has a concert which is free and open to the public (a complete list of concerts is available at the FEF website - Students also participate in parades during the summer: Alameda County Fair Parade on June 21st, Fremont 4th of July Parade and the Festival of India Parade in August. "These parades and festivals are another great experience for the kids to play, learn how to march and perform for a crowd," said a parent volunteer

FEF Vice President Lara York started volunteering for the organization in 1999 and became a board member in 2000. She said, "This is the only Telethon in the Tri-City area, and I love that we are putting the kids on TV! It's a new experience for them and for many of our featured guests and celebrities. Being on live means anything can happen - and sometimes it does. We have received challenges to sing for large pledge amounts - and we'll sing or play pretty much anything to get our thermometer to reach the top of our $75,000 goal. I also love that this Music Telethon is something that many, many people in our community become a part of. We have donors from $5 to $5,000. The important thing is that everyone who feels that music is an important part of our elementary school experience says 'Yes! I will help,' in whatever amount and way that they can." All 27 elementary schools in Fremont, have established the after-school band program.

Ms. York noted, "We do still need more phone callers to help at our two phone banks (Prudential California Realty in Warm Springs and Century 21 Oliver-Jackson at their new location at Mission Blvd/Las Palmas) from 5:45 - 9:00 p.m. on both Tuesday & Thursday. This year, for the first time, our callers will have a chance to win door prizes and enjoy a friendly competition for pledges and receive gift certificates provided by the Centerville Business Association and the Warm Springs Business Association."

The Music Telethon will be televised live on Fremont Comcast cable channel 26 and also streamed live via the Fremont Education Foundation website. During the Telethon, there will be two School band performances: Glenmoor Elementary School on Tuesday and Gomes Elementary Intermediate class on Thursday. The Telethon will also feature the children in the After-School Band program as well as some graduates who currently play in Junior High and High School bands. Local celebrities will share anecdotes and challenge their fans and supporters to give generously.

The two phone bank locations are at Prudential California Realty in Warm Springs district and the offices of Century 21 Oliver-Jackson on Mission Blvd at Las Palmas. FEF is looking for volunteers; they estimate about 50 volunteers will be required each night.

The Fremont Education Foundation, established in 1991, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, public charity to encourage increased community involvement and investment in local schools. Foundation members include parents, educators, school administrators, business people, and others. This independent foundation works closely with the Fremont Unified School District but is a separate entity.

In addition to the After-School Band Program, FEF currently funds two other major programs in the Fremont Unified School District: teacher grants to support innovative, quality classroom programs in grades K-12 and the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund that awards sportswear and equipment scholarships to encourage greater participation in sports and cheerleading To date, the Fremont Education Foundation has awarded over 97 classroom grants; for the past 12 years, students at 38 elementary, junior high and high schools have benefited from these grants.

Fremont Education Foundation Music Telethon 2008

Tuesday, April 1
Thursday, April 3
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fremont Comcast Channel 26
Webcast at

For more information, sponsorships or to volunteer:

Call: (510) 501-9675 or (510) 659-2561 or (510) 713-9940

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