FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
Nelda Mundy Elementary School Winter Concert

Joel Padilla plays the clarinet with the third- to sixth-grade concert band during a winter concert at Nelda Mundy Elementary School, Wednesday, in Fairfield. Despite budget cuts, some elementary children are still able to learn music through the efforts of the Music Matters program. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

Education

Winter concerts showcase Music Matters programs

By From page A1 | January 24, 2013

FAIRFIELD — The music concert Wednesday at Nelda Mundy Elementary School was filled with beautiful notes – some more in tune than others – but to family and friends, the sounds were all equally beautiful.

It was a shining moment for the children and for the school. Only a couple of years ago, these children would not have had the chance to play in a concert. Thanks to the efforts of Music Matters, however, these children showed off their musical prowess on string, wind and percussion instruments to a packed auditorium.

School district budget cuts in 2010 eliminated music education programs in all Fairfield and Suisun City elementary schools. A parent representing Nelda Mundy Elementary would not let that stand and brought the issue to the attention of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music in Vacaville. Parents called for a program that could bring music back to schools that lost funding.

The program, headed by director Jacqui Crockett, has served Fairfield-Suisun district schools for about two years and was recently brought to four additional campuses. Music Matters started in 2011 at Nelda Mundy Elementary, K.I. Jones Elementary, B. Gale Wilson Elementary and Rolling Hills Elementary. It added programs this year to Green Valley Middle School, the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy, Cordelia Hills Elementary and Suisun Valley Elementary.

Music Matters on Tuesday kicked off a two-week series of winter concerts representing seven schools.

Nelda Mundy showcased several of its musical groups, including the concert band directed by band teacher Josh Rosato, string orchestra directed by Nancy Ewing, woodwinds ensemble directed by Wayne Gross, choir directed by Shanda Daranouvong and guitar directed by guitar teacher Matthew Foley.

Most of the children are beginners but showed great promise, having played less than a year. Each of the instructors showed off some of what the children learned. Rosato, for example, showcased a beginning clarinet player on a solo. Ewing’s string players demonstrated dynamics while playing pizzicato.

Family and friends packed the parking lots and stood along the walls just to see their children play.

Ann and John Bevan snagged a remaining spot by the door to see their niece Lauren Bevan sing with “The Harmonics” choir.

“This is fabulous,” Ann Bevan said. “It’s neat to see all the talent and opportunity the kids are offered.”

Wanda Cook, artistic director and founder of Young Artists Conservatory, said the organization wants to continue to increase Music Matters in schools with greater populations of low-income families and is pursuing grants and endowment funding to do so.

“It is our goal that all children of any economic population have access to quality music education,” she said in a press release.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Schedule

  • Thursday: 6:30 p.m. Green Valley Middle, 1350 Gold Hill Road, with Cordelia Hills and Nelda Mundy choirs as guests.
  • Jan. 30: 6 p.m. Rolling Hills Elementary, 2025 Fieldcrest Ave.
  • Jan. 31: 6 p.m. Cordelia Hills, 4770 Canyon Hills Drive.
  • Jan. 31: 6:30 p.m. K.I. Jones, 2001 Winston Drive.
Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.
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Discussion | 2 comments

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  • Wanda CookJanuary 24, 2013 - 11:04 am

    Thank you to Hearth Ah San for a gracious front page article about the parent supported Music Matters Program in FSUSD. The value of a quality arts education for our children can not be understated as a key contributor to a quality community.

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  • Vincent PitzuloJanuary 24, 2013 - 10:09 pm

    While I applaud the efforts to keep music education alive within our community, it's unfortunate that the responsibility of providing music instruction has fallen on the parents. It's inexcusable that music is not part of the curriculum for every elementary school in our district. When is it coming back?

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