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Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation sponsors 5th grade symphony outing

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 3:02 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Music.

California Symphony Orchestra members perform for Mt. Diablo school district fifth-graders during an "In Formance" designed to teach students about music. (Photo by Louie Green, courtesy of MDEF).

California Symphony Orchestra members perform for Mt. Diablo school district fifth-graders during an "In Formance" designed to teach students about music. (Photo by Louie Green, courtesy of MDEF).

I received the following press release this morning from the Mt. Diablo Education Foundation, which recently sponsored visits to the California Symphony Orchestra for district fifth-graders. The nonprofit organization spent about $15,000, including performers, theatre rental, and student buses — or a little more than $10 per student, according to publicist Gary Carr.

“WALNUT CREEK: Members of the California Symphony presented a special ‘In Formance’ for over 1400 5th graders from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District over four shows in two days at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

The ‘In Formance’ was held on February 22 and 23 and was sponsored by the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation, who paid for the program and the busing for the 5th graders.

Forrest Byram (tuba) led the program, along with Bill Harvey (trumpet), Kale Cummings (trumpet), Meredith Brown (French horn), and Don Benham (trombone). The group ‘traveled in time’ and played such pieces as ‘William Tell Overture,’ ‘Horn Concerto,’ ‘Mozart’s Minute,’ and a Strauss waltz. The group talked about their instruments, (including) why the shape and length affects the sound. Byram even used a garden hose to make a very long horn. (He) then demonstrated how rhythm is important to music, and led the students in foot stomping, hand clapping and singing  ‘We Will Rock You.’ 

Victor Avdienko , a percussionist joined the group to talk about his drum kit and xylophone, and backed up the brass section on ‘The Entertainer’ and ‘In the Mood,’ and ended with ‘La Bamba.’

The Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation is dedicated to supporting the music programs in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and will be hosting the 2nd All Area Music Festival at the Sleep Train Pavilion on Saturday, May 14 featuring student performers in bands and choirs from the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. For more information on the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation, visit www.mdmusicfoundation.org.”

[END PRESS RELEASE]

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Since the district has cut instrumental music in fourth and fifth grades, some middle school bands are visiting local elementary schools to perform and possibly interest incoming sixth-graders in taking beginning band. The school board on Tuesday voted to lay off 3.4 music teachers districtwide.

Do you think the elimination of fifth-grade instrumental music programs this year will negatively affect middle school music programs next year?

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