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May 13, 2009 > Centerville's got talent

Centerville's got talent

By Vidya Pradhan
Photos By Len Cook

Despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that children learning arts skills perform better in academics, music education always takes the biggest brunt of budget cuts. In the perennially cash-starved Fremont school district, music teachers are constantly scrounging for extra cash. The Fremont Education Foundation does a stellar job raising funds for elementary school band programs but middle and high schools tend to get left behind.

This was brought home to Marc Dinh when he attended a winter concert at Centerville Junior High School. He noticed that the students were sharing stands and sheets and was concerned enough to approach the music director after the program. "I asked the director what was needed to completely fund a year's worth of music supplies," recalls Dinh, "and was told that a minimum of $3,000 would get the job done."

Dinh, a local chiropractor, is also President of the Centerville Business and Community Association (CBCA), a group comprised of local businesses and citizens. His request for the CBCA to organize a fundraiser for junior high and high school band programs was met with a strong show of support.

Last year, CBCA put together the first "Centerville's Got Talent" show, recruiting a number of local school bands for two full days of entertainment. Schools were invited to sell refreshments and make some extra money for their bands.

It was smashing success. Ross Gershenson, band teacher at Thornton Junior High School, was one of the beneficiaries of the show. "It was a marvelous experience," he remembers. "We were made to feel very welcome. With our fundraisers doing poorly, we were looking to pick up some donations for the jazz band program and the music program in general. We received $800 - $900 when all was said and done."

"I was just blown away with the amount that came through," he adds. As all music teachers have learned, kids can be hard on instruments and accessories. "Our keyboard amplifier just went down," says Mr. Gershenson, "and we have to come up with $120 for that." The kids also welcome the opportunity to display their musical prowess.

This year's "Centerville's Got Talent" show will include an element of competition. A "Best Band" category has been added for each level of education - elementary, middle and high - and a "Best Talent in Fremont" - a talent show - is open to all ages. "We have rock bands, singers and instrumentalist as part of the talent show so far," says Marc, "but anyone and everyone is welcome to show off their talents." Many private schools in and around Fremont are also participating in the band and talent competition.

"Centerville's Got Talent" promises to be a day of great music and fun-filled talent performances. It is an enjoyable way to support local schools and make it possible for kids to receive a rich music curriculum. And best of all, it's free (donations are welcome but not mandatory). Sponsorships from Dale Hardware, Guarantee bank, Rose's Mortuary and the Bernardin family make it possible for CBCA to put the show together. Even the refreshment sales help to make money for the schools.

As Dinh puts it, "Schools make the community and the community makes the businesses." CBCA is doing its part to be a productive and supportive member of the community. It hopes that others will do so too.

Contact Marc Dinh for more information and sponsorship opportunities at

Centerville's Got Talent
Saturday May 16
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Washington High School
38442 Fremont Blvd., Fremont


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