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April 22, 2009 > Newark dials for education

Newark dials for education

By Suzanne Ortt

Mark your calendar for 7 - 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 29. Turn on Newark Cable Channel 27. Tune in to the Keep Music Alive: one child at a time Telethon. Tap your feet; clap your hands to the cadence of Newark School Bands. The Newark Education Foundation, headed by Richard Watters, president, sponsors the first time telethon to raise funds for the band program.

Here is a chance to lend a hand. Donate or volunteer or do both. In these tough economic times, community involvement and support are vital. The Newark bands and all music students will thank you. All donations are accepted gladly. Two hundred dollars funds one student for one year, one hundred dollars gives support for one-half of a year, and fifty dollars is needed for one-fourth of a year.

Mayor David Smith and School Superintendent Kevin Harrigan co-host this fundraiser. All ten Newark schools' bands are participating. The eight elementary school bands and the junior high musicians will be shown via videotape. The Newark Memorial High School Band, the Newark Saxophone Quartet and the Woodwind Ensemble from the Newark Symphonic Winds will broadcast live. The first-rate videography of the band performances is by Media Communication Academy students, according to David Benoun, producer of this event.

Music education makes kids smarter, state plentiful studies. An elementary school choir director, Carol Zilli, will speak to this issue during the telethon. Music and spatial intelligence are linked and increase mathematical problem solving and organizational skills. Music also promotes creativity, self-esteem and better SAT scores. Scattered facts further support this contention. Silicon Valley's top engineers and technical designers nearly all are practicing musicians. One study of 237 second graders used keyboard training and newly designed math software to demonstrate significant prowess in math skills. Their performances were 27 percent higher than students who only used the software.

Celebrities and community members will join the contingent of volunteers answering telephones and doing paper work. Join the volunteer cadre. To help out, call David Benoun at 510/795-4122 or email him at

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