All-Star Concert Proceeds Benefit Anaheim High Schools with $30,000 Musical Instrument Donation

September 8, 2003

The community that hosted one of the most star-packed concerts in memory is going to benefit directly from its proceeds, as The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation donates some $30,000 worth of musical instruments to the Anaheim Union High School District on Monday, September 8, at 11:30 a.m. at Brookhurst Junior High School.

The donation is made possible through financial support from Yamaha Corporation of America and NAMM, the International Music Products Association, using funds raised by “The 2003 NAMM Concert Honoring Sir Elton John: A Benefit for Music Education, Presented by Yamaha,” which took place January 17 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.

According to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Executive Director Felice Mancini, the donation made it possible for the foundation to purchase the instruments and present them to the school district. Anaheim Band Instruments on South State College Boulevard will facilitate many of the purchases for the September 8 event.

“Since The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation started in 1997, both Yamaha and NAMM have enthusiastically supported our work on behalf of music education, and this donation for Anaheim schools is a continuation of a great partnership and a step toward reaching mutual goals,” Mancini says. “To be able to assist this many schools in one community is gratifying both for us and certainly for the Anaheim school district and the students and teachers who will benefit.”

Mancini notes that assisting the music programs of the Anaheim Union High School District is particularly important because elementary schools in the community do not offer music instruction. Many of the students who will be using the donated instruments are beginners or near-beginners. She also noted that in addition to the January concert, NAMM has had a long-standing presence in the Anaheim community because of its annual international trade show.

The $30,000 donation is actually providing instruments worth about $50,000, thanks to special prices offered by Yamaha Corporation of America and Anaheim Band Instruments.

Statewide, music education is facing serious challenges. The current state budget cut funding to the California Arts Council, which makes grants to schools and arts organizations, by 94 percent. According to Visual and Performing Arts Consultant Don Doyle of the State Department of Education, students enrolled in music classes across the state fell from 18.5 percent of the total student population in the 1999–2000 academic year to only 10 percent in 2002–2003—even as enrollment in other arts disciplines showed slight increases over the same period. Beginning this fall, California residents must have completed at least one year of standards-based performing art classes as a requirement for admission to the state university system or the University of California.

Dr. Michael Shelton, director of special youth services for the Anaheim Union High School District, says the instrument donation will make a real difference to local students. “It’s going to allow more kids in the program, and it’s going to allow less sharing of instruments, so it will result in a better quality program for more kids,” he notes.

According to Shelton, many families in the district are at lower income levels. Many band instruments are shared by two or three students, which sharply curtails not only their practice time but their ability to feel ownership of the process.

“When a youngster carries that horn to school, it’s the highlight of his day,” he notes. “He’s looking forward all day to getting a chance to play it. That’s a tremendous step toward his wanting to be successful.”

Yamaha Corporation of America Senior Vice President Terry Lewis says, “The larger goal of the Elton John tribute concert back in January was to provide the opportunity for more students to experience music education and to provide funding for important scientific research to underscore the benefits of playing a musical instrument. As the principal sponsors of the concert and as corporate citizens of Orange County ourselves, we at Yamaha can’t think of anything more fitting than to have its benefits felt right here in Anaheim.”

“Today, we see NAMM’s mission of increasing participation in music making in action,” says Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM, the International Music Products Association. “The music products industry is proud to make this donation to the children of Anaheim and give back to the community that has so graciously hosted the NAMM Show for more than 20 years.”

“The annual NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center has brought hundreds of thousands of people to our city who believe that music can unify and improve the world,” says Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle. “Today's donation of musical instruments is a real-world example of how funds raised at the NAMM Show will positively impact the lives of students at nine Orange County schools.”

“The value of music education in a young person’s life cannot possibly be overstated,” says David Browne, president and co-owner with his wife, Diane, of Anaheim Band Instruments. “In view of the uncertainty of state funding through our most recent state budget crisis, the timing of this gift couldn’t be better. The instruments are a gift that will impact the lives of hundreds of young people for decades to come.”

“The 2003 NAMM Concert Honoring Sir Elton John: A Benefit for Music Education,” featured performances by Vanessa Carlton, Ray Charles, Nikka Costa, Bruce Hornsby, Jewel, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, John Mayer, Michael McDonald, Brian McKnight, Randy Newman, Take 6, Rufus Wainwright, Brian Wilson, Eric McCormack of NBC’s Will & Grace, Carmen Twillie and Sir Elton himself. More than 12,000 people, in town for the music industry trade show, attended. Other beneficiaries of the event included the American Music Conference and the Museum of Making Music.

Brookhurst Junior High School is located at 601 N. Brookhurst Ave. in Anaheim.