Description/History

History

The Albany Music Fund has its roots in the Albany Music Boosters, founded by Ernie Douglas, longtime director of the Albany High School instrumental music department. The Albany Music Boosters established a tradition of raising funds for instrument repairs as will as other parent-based support functions.

In 1987, the first serious financial shortfall caused the Albany Unified School District (AUSD) to threaten the elimination of elementary and middle-school music programs. The impending loss of these programs incited the Music Boosters to shift from its traditional support role to active fundraising and advocacy for support of the entire AUSD music program. The boosters, consisting of parents and teachers, spearheaded a fundraising program campaign that culminated in a city parcel tax for arts education in 1990 and formation of the Albany Education Foundation. This effort sustained the elementary and middle school programs.

Throughout the 1990s and into early 2000, a series of financial shortfalls continued to threaten the music programs at all AUSD sites. In 2002, the financial crisis came to a head: the entire ASUD music program faced elimination. In the spring of 2002, a small group of parents and music teachers mobilized to save the music program district-wide. Thus, the Albany Music Boosters was folded into a new organization called the Albany Music Fund (AMF), which was chartered as a nonprofit charitable organization.

The Albany Music Fund sought to unite all aspects of the ASUD program. Parents and teachers of the Choral and Instrumental music programs joined together. Representatives of all school sites also joined the effort. This grass roots initiative led to the creation of the AMF Steering Committee. In time, by-laws, a mission statement, and goals were formalized.

In the earliest days of AMF, the Steering Committee and other associated ad hoc groups devoted great time and effort to raising enough money to sustain the program during the severe financial crisis. A notable part of this effort was the production of several large community-wide concerts featuring well known musicians such as David Grisman, Angela Bofil, Norton Buffalo, and Pete Escovedo. The success of these concerts, together with a considerable and generous response from the community, enabled AMF to raise more than two hundred thousand of dollars to replace the shortfall in funds from the ASUD music budget. In subsequent years the organization continued to enrich the music program by adding a string program, new classes at both the high school and middle school, and additional teaching positions.

With the recent restoration of State Funds and 2006 parcel tax money, the AMF again shifted its role from providing the music program with basic operating funds to being a support and advocacy group. The group’s current efforts are focused toward instrument acquisition, minor facility upgrades and scholarships, with initiatives toward expanding the scope of instrument acquisition and scholarships, and implementation of new initiatives aimed at preserving and enhancing the AUSD music program.

Mission

The Mission of the Albany Music Fund (AMF) is to promote excellence and equity in music education. The AMF believes that music education can be a fundamental component of the core curriculum at the Albany Unified School District and education in music benefits student growth by:

  • developing rigor and discipline of study unique to music
  • enhancing critical thought process through interpretation and creation of music development of collaborative spirit by working in musical ensembles and groups synthesizing practical application of lessons learned in other subjects including math (rhythm and structure), language arts ( lyrics and lyrical structure), and science (physics of sound)

The Albany Music Fund supports the preservation and enhancement of instrumental and vocal music in the Albany School by:

  • funding private lesson scholarships
  • funding a program of matching grants for private lessons;
  • funding the purchase and repair of musical instruments;
  • purchase of instructional materials;
  • funding music programs at the Albany Unified School District
  • assistance with funding travel to competitions
  • providing general stewardship of music program

By achieving its Mission, the AMF seeks to maintain and enhance the AUSD music program with the significant academic goal of achieving compliance with the California Basic Standards for Music and the intangible goal of enriching the life experience of AUSD students and their families.

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