Disney Channel and the NAMM Foundation Encourage School Kids to Get Musical with New Program

New program designed to support music in schools and help fund school theater productions of 'High School Musical'

September 25, 2007

The NAMM Foundation and Disney Channel today launched “Disney’s High School Musical: The Music in You Grant Program” that will allow for middle and high schools across the United States to apply for a grant to put on their own school stage production of Disney’s High School Musical. This public affairs initiative utilizes the popularity of the High School Musical movies and the licensed amateur theater adaptation of it to encourage kids to get involved in music and the arts.

The grant program will award 10 (ten) worthy schools a $5,000 monetary grant and license for High School Musical. The funds are to support music and arts-related educational costs of the production such as hiring music and dance coaches, and to help schools that do not have sufficient lighting and sound equipment for the production.

Schools interested in applying for a grant should visit icon link www.nammfoundation.org to view grant guidelines and apply online starting Oct. 1, 2007. All applications must be received online by Nov. 30, 2007. Grants will be announced during the NAMM Show that takes place in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 17–20, 2008.

“The High School Musical movies have had a phenomenal impact on the youth culture today, and for the NAMM Foundation, collaborating with Disney on the grant and public affairs program is a way to empower kids to get involved in music and the arts, and inspire schools and communities to create opportunities for them,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM’s director of government relations and public affairs. “These are life-changing experiences for young people.”

Together, the organizations have teamed to create High School Musical: The Music in You, a "documusical" that chronicles a school theater production of High School Musical in Fort Worth, Texas. Additional joint initiatives are “The Music in You” micro Web site; public service announcements encouraging students to get involved in music and arts, and communities to invest in more performing arts opportunities for kids; and a series of interstitials illustrating students involvement in the arts as part of their core curriculum. The interstitials will be presented on Disney Channel,
icon link DisneyChannel.com and Radio Disney.

High School Musical: The Music in You
Later this year, the Disney Channel will air High School Musical: The Music in You a documusical created by two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA and American Dream).

Kopple followed the month-long process of Fort Worth, Texas, students producing an in-school stage adaptation of Disney’s High School Musical, capturing with her camera the auditions, rehearsals and performances and how students balanced it with the rest of their lives.

During the filming of the documusical, NAMM Members donated their services and materials to update the school’s 30-year-old theater audio and lighting systems. Full Compass Systems Ltd. of Middleton, Wis., a retailer of audio, video and lighting equipment, worked with major sound and lighting manufacturers Electronic Theater Control (ETC) and Bosch, to cover shipping costs and loan the needed equipment for the production.

“My background is in the theater business,” said Susan Lipp, president of Full Compass Systems Ltd. “When I heard this would support a theater production of Disney’s High School Musical, I called my 15-year-old granddaughter and asked her if she knew anything about it—she said she had seen the movie version 23 times. When it comes to supporting something like this, my thinking is that being involved in the arts keeps kids off the streets. If we can help a school like that it is wonderful—it’s just what we want to do.”

“Theater kind of keeps me going,” said one student auditioning for the Fort Worth school production. “If it wasn’t for theater I most likely would have dropped out of school.”

“I play guitar and I write songs,” said Brad Cannon, who was cast as the lead character Troy Bolton in the Fort Worth production. “I actually wrote a song about the pressure of doing this. I couldn’t live without music. Music defines everything that’s going on. Music is what makes people—people.”

The “Music in You” Web Site
To offer children even more, Disney and the NAMM Foundation teamed to create “The Music in You” micro Web site
(icon link www.DisneyChannel.com/HighSchoolMusical/MusicInYou) that encourages kids to get involved in music, dance and theater. The site features information about how schools can participate in High School Musical stage productions, a link for schools to apply for a licensing grant (icon link www.nammfoundation.org), an Activity Guide outlining performance activities and techniques, videos of students putting on their own school productions of High School Musical and a poll page to express what music means to each person visiting the site.

Adam Sanderson, senior vice president, Brand Marketing, Disney ABC Cable Networks Group, said, "The Music in You will inspire kids to express themselves through the joy of being involved in a musical production. These grants will give all schools the opportunity to share in this experience."

About Disney Channel
Disney Channel is a 24-hour kid-driven, family-inclusive television network that taps into the world of kids and families through original series and movies. Currently available on basic cable in over 94 million U.S. homes and to millions of other viewers on 27 Disney Channels around the world, Disney Channel is part of the Disney-ABC Television Group.
icon link DisneyChannel.com, is the No. 1 entertainment Web site among kids ages 6–14.

About Radio Disney
Radio Disney is the No. 1 destination for kids, tweens and families on the radio. It is available to 97 percent of the U.S. on more than 50 terrestrial radio stations and on RadioDisney.com, XM and Sirius satellite radio, iTunes Radio Tuner, XM/DIRECTV and mobile phones. Kids, tweens and families can also download Radio Disney programming via the iTunes Music Store.

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.