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    Albany Alums to perform for music benefit

    September 9th, 2009

    from the Albany Music Fund

    When Albany High School 2006 alumni Jonathan Sandberg and Emma Gavenda heard that the disastrous state budget cuts were threatening their alma mater’s music programs, they did what they do best: planned an evening of beautiful music as a benefit concert to keep the music program alive.

    On Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m., Albany Music Fund proudly presents these two bighearted and talented alumni in a concert with selections spanning more four centuries. The concert is at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Palache Hall, 2837 Claremont Blvd in Berkeley. (To purchase tickets, go to http://www.brownpap ertickets. com/event/ 78916)

    Jonathan, a vocal performance major at University of California at Irvine, will perform Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Donizetti and Moore, as well as traditional spirituals and sacred works with accompanist Mary Low. Emma, a harpsichord performance major at University of California at Davis, will play Jean-Henri D’Anglebert and William Byrd.

    All proceeds go to the Albany Music Fund, which sponsors much of the music program in Albany’s public schools, from elementary school band to award-winning vocal programs at the high school. Tickets are $25 – 50 sliding scale, and must be purchased online at brownpapertickets. com. For a direct link to this event, go to: http://www.brownpap ertickets. com/event/ 78916

    Sound of music fills Albany, thanks to AMF

    September 9th, 2009

    By Barbara Grady-Ayer

    It has become a right of passage for youngsters in Albany.  When you reach fourth grade you get to pick out an instrument — shiny saxophones, silvery flutes, etc. – and play in a school band.

    It almost didn’t happen this year.

    So this past week, as 9 and 10 year olds in Albany public schools proudly chose their instruments and started playing – and some classmates began singing in school choirs – many adults were saying ‘whew, what a close call.’

     Elementary music instruction was slated to be eliminated from the Albany Unified School District last spring after the state budget crisis forced the district to cut its spending by 15 percent.

     But the Albany Music Fund, a volunteer organization of parents and teachers, saved the day – and the hopes of many a child.

    The Albany Music Fund raised $84,000 to save music instruction in Albany’s schools.  The sum allowed the elementary schools not only to restore instrumental instruction but to expand music to include vocal instruction or band instruction for every 4th and 5th grader. The fundraising also allowed Albany Middle School to keep its chorale program and allowed the high school to retain its range of music programs, specifically its Rythm Bound band.

    “We worked very hard to accomplish this,” said Penny Barthel, president of the Albany Music Fund. “We are committed to keeping music really strong” in Albany Schools.” In fact, the organization has upped its fundraising goal for this current year to $125,000.

    “As you can see, we’ve really stepped up to the challenges presented to us by the recent economic conditions,” she said.

    So if you hear a classic tune coming from the lips of a fourth or fifth grader around this town, or for that matter a middle schooler or high schooler, remember how they may have learned that tune.

    To learn more about the Albany Music Fund, go to www.albanymusic.org.