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March 17, 2010 > Fremont Education Telethon

Fremont Education Telethon

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Walter Garcia

A world without music? To most of us, that would be unimaginable. Yet, the path toward musicianship as a life-long activity often first begins through school music programs, many which have been severely reduced or cut across the country. Luckily for students in the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD), the Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) has stepped in to help through a annual telethon. Their 11th Annual After-School Band Program Telethon, for the 2010-2011 school year will be held Tuesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 25, from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

"As this is the 11th year of the fundraising telethon, we want everyone to ask 11 people to give at least $11 or more. Also, anyone who donates $111 or more will have their name mentioned during the telethon," says Anne Damron, who serves as co-chair this year along with FUSD Board President Lara York.

Broadcast live on Ed-TV Channel 26 and streamed on the FUSD website, www.fremont.k12.ca.us, programming will feature entertainment provided by the 27 elementary school bands involved in Fremont's after-school band program.

Throughout the two-day telethon, community and business leaders, School Superintendent Milt Werner, assorted FUSD personnel, board members, and major donors will drop by to participate and show their support. Volunteers from FUSD Board, Keller Williams Realty, Prudential CA Realty, FUDTA, the Planning Commission and Fremont Chamber of Commerce, among others, will be participating and making phone calls.

Hopes are to reach the fundraising goal of $88,000 and surpass last year's event, which raised $60,000 for the after-school band program.

Funds derived from the telethon will provide 25 weeks of instructional time for the 48 elementary school bands. Because the after-school band program is offered free at every elementary school, all 4th, 5th and 6th grade students have an equal opportunity to participate in this enrichment program. Particularly during these times of budget cuts, the program adds balance to the regular school day curriculum.

"We are so fortunate to have the Fremont Education Foundation and wide community support for our schools. Without this support, we would have no instrumental music program for our elementary children. The After-School Band gives a group experience that you just can't get from private lessons," says York.

Each night of the telethon, a "house band," selected from the elementary schools, will provide musical entertainment. On Tuesday evening, the Washington Attendance Area Advanced Band will perform under the direction of Michael Toschak. Thursday evening, the Hirsch Elementary School Combination Band will provide the musical interludes with instructor Gabe Easton.

Major telethon donors are Niles Rotary, Keller Williams Realty, Prudential CA Realty, Minuteman Press and Tri-City Voice Newspaper.

The Fremont Education Foundation, established in 1991 to replace funding lost by state budget cuts to educational programs, raises necessary funds for three main programs that benefit Fremont students.

In addition to the After-School Band program, the Innovative Education Grant provides funding for FUSD teacher projects in the classroom through the Excellence in Education Gala, recently held on February 26. The third program funded by FEF, the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund, helps needy students with co-curricular sports expenses and provides grants for after school sports programs at elementary schools and junior highs. Funding is supplied by proceeds from the Happy Fish Run scheduled for Sunday, October 10.

Additionally, a Discretionary Fund exists if the need arises, wherein requests can be granted to provide equitable access to students in school programs.

After-school band students are required to furnish their own instruments for the classes; some are purchased, many are rented through local music stores and a small number are borrowed from the Foundation, an instructor or a school.

The donation of new or used band instruments is greatly appreciated. If you have any instruments lying around, gathering dust, consider letting one of the district's young musicians put it to good use. These can include: flutes, coronets, snare drums, trumpets, clarinets, trombones, saxophones, bells percussions and xylophones, baritone horns and euphonium. Email: band@fremont-education.org to make arrangements for instrument pick up.

Damron adds, "There's always something that people can give. Any and all donations will be appreciated by the students."

"10,000 Fremont Unified children have benefitted from this program over the past 10 years," says York, "and many more can into the future with everyone saying YES and giving what they can."

After-School Band Telethon
Tuesday, March 23 and Thursday March 25
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Broadcast live on Ed TV and www.fremont.k12.ca.us

Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to:
Fremont Education Foundation
39120 Argonaut Way, #381
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 659-2561
Secure online contribution: www.fremont-education.org

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