Albany Music Fund E-Newsletter- March 2010


Calendar of Events: March – April 2010

Thursday, March 4: Albany High School Vocal Music Variety Show, Albany High School Little Theater, 7 p.m. FREE!
Friday, March 5: Albany High School Vocal Music Variety Show, Albany High School Little Theater, 7 p.m. FREE!
Monday, March 8: Spring Band and Orchestra concert with special guest soloist Dana Booher. Albany High School Little Theater, 7 p.m. FREE!
Thursday, March 11: Albany High School Jazz Band to State CMEA conference in Sacramento. FREE!
Friday, March 12: Swing Into Spring Big Dance Fundraiser, with Albany High School and Albany Middle School jazz and vocal musicians at Gaia Arts Center in Berkeley.Tickets are $30 available exclusively through Brown Paper Tickets
Thursday, March 18: Superintendent’s Concert, Albany High School Gym, 6:30 p.m. FREE!
Thursday, March 18-Saturday, March 20: California All-State Honor Choir in San Jose. FREE performance at 6:30 p.m Saturday, March 20. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 80 S. Market St., San Jose
Thursday, April 15 – Sunday, April 18: Albany High School Vocal Music students to Heritage Festival in Las Vegas
Thursday, April 22: Albany Middle School Jazz Band performance in AMS courtyard, immediately following the fifth grade meeting. FREE!
Friday, April 23 – Sunday, April 25: Albany High School Jazz groups to Reno Jazz Festival. More information available here.

Outreach report: Albany Rotary Club

What is the Rotary Club? What do they do? Why are they here in the Albany Music Fund newsletter?

Rotary International is a service club, whose volunteer members work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self. Worldwide, there are 33,000 clubs, with over 1.2 million members.
The Albany branch of the Rotary Club partners with Albany Community Foundation, Albany Education Foundation, Rebuilding Together and Albany Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Examples of recent projects in Albany include:

  • Landscaping and irrigation system installation on the Key Route Boulevard median
  • Repairing/rebuilding a senior citizen’s house following a fire
  • Acquiring and distributing dictionaries to all 3rd grade classrooms
  • Sponsoring Albany Little League teams
  • Acquiring and installing benches in front of the Albany YMCA
  • Holiday donations to families and children

On a global level, the Rotary Club has helped with:

  • Building/repairing a school in Mexico
  • Drilling community water wells in Africa

Recently, Albany Rotary made a generous donation to the Albany Music Fund, which paid for the music needed for the upcoming Swing Into Spring Big Band Dance. We brought some of our jazz musicians to play for a Rotary social function. The Rotarians liked what they heard, and asked our students to provide music for the February 27th “What’s it worth?” appraisal program held t the Albany Middle School. Our musicians welcome opportunities to perform, and their lively music added just the right note to a fun community event.
It’s the start of a beautiful friendship! Albany Music Fund thanks the Albany Rotary Club for their generous support. We look forward to many years of partnership with this incredible organization, which does so much to help our community.

March 2010 AMF Interview: Kathe Jordan, vocal music instructor at Cornell, Ocean View, and Marin

Q: Tell us a little about your music and education background. Also, one little-know fact about music educators is that they play many instruments. What do you play, and what’s your “primary” instrument?

A: I started out as an English teacher, with a BA, credential, and MA in English from UC Berkeley. When my kids were born, I chose to stay home with them and began to play music for preschools around Berkeley, Albany, and Kensington. I had played the guitar since high school and had been in a few bands, developing a wide repertoire of children’s folk music along the way.

Q: How did you come to the AUSD, and what are your favorite things about the students here?

A: At the end of 1999, a friend from Albany told me she’d seen an ad for an elementary choir teacher for Albany schools. I was hired and so began the happy relationship with Marin, Cornell, and Ocean View schools, where I taught the fourth/fifth grade choirs. About a year later, I was hired as the K-3 vocal instructor for Marin School, as well. I shared my love of music with the ever-enthusiastic Albany children for about five more years, at which time I was asked to come to the middle school. It was a wonderful challenge because I was now required by NCLB (No Child Left Behind) to add music to my English credential. This was a terrific opportunity to learn more about music and I seized it, going to school for most of the four years I was at AMS. During that time I also began to study piano, which I love!

Q: If a Mysterious Benefactor (as in Dickens’ Great Expectations) could grant your biggest wish for the AUSD music program, what would it be?

A: I’d have to say choral risers and sound screens and a place to rehearse on them for AMS and the elementary schools. To have sixty students lined up on the floor of the library, trying to see me and be seen and heard is an exercise in faith. Luckily, I have a lot of that, and so do the kids of Albany!

Q: What piece of choral music do you think all elementary school students should know?

A: It’s difficult to say which piece of choral music every child should know, but I’ll venture to say “Lift Every Voice and Sing!’ This piece is the African American anthem of freedom and struggle and it embodies all the reasons why I believe music heals and strengthens the soul in all of us.

Q: What’s your current favorite piece of music?

A: At the moment, I’m really enjoying Westminster Choir College’s beautiful rendition of “Shenandoah,” the quintessential American folk song of longing and loss.

Got pocket change? Elementary schools collecting for Music Education Month

We are often advised that if we were to empty our pockets and purses of the change that accumulates daily and put it in a jar, we’d be amazed at how much you can save in just one month. The three Albany elementary schools invite you to drop by their offices and leave your change in collection jars for the Albany Music Fund, because March is Music Education Month.

Much has been written about the positive effect of music on children’s ability to learn. Our students all benefit from the excellent music education they receive. We’re proud of our wonderful young musicians, and grateful for the inspired teaching they receive. We also recognize that not every family can afford a large donation- and we’re more than happy to take any change you’d like to donate. Drop by Marin, Ocean View or Cornell elementary schools during March, and watch as the jars fill up, keeping the sweet sound of music alive in our schools.

Parents, consider deputizing your elementary school student to make the change delivery on a weekly basis. They’ll love being trusted with the responsibility and enjoy watching the pile of coins grow!

SAVE THE DATE: Swing Into Spring Big Band Dance, Friday, March 12

Join Albany High School’s Jazz Band and Jazz Lab, Albany Middle School’s Jazz Band and Albany High’s Vocal Flight with members of Advanced Chorale for our first annual Swing Into Spring Big Band Dance. This exciting evening of classic swing tunes, professional dance instruction, tasty food and wine will be Friday, March 12, 7- 11 p.m. at the Gaia Arts Center in Berkeley.

Swing Into Spring is a benefit for the Albany Music Fund, which has the single purpose of supporting music education in the Albany public schools. This school year, in the face of huge budget cuts, Albany Music Fund pledged $65,000 to the school district, all of which goes directly to music education. This money supports both vocal and instrumental music, and student musicians in elementary, middle and high school.

All proceeds from the dance go directly to Albany Music Fund. With the success of this first annual Swing Into Spring Big Band Dance, we hope to continue our mission of creating excellence and equality in the Albany schools’ music programs.

Dance instruction is offered from 7 to 8 p.m. Charlene Gullette Van Ness, Bay Area social dance instructor for the past 28 years, has taught thousands of people to swing dance. Try out your new and/or improved swing dancing skills to live swing big band dance tunes immediately thereafter, from 8 to 11 p.m. Gaia Arts Center is located at 2116 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley. Please visit for information on directions and parking. Tickets are $30, and available online at Brown Paper Tickets

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