California Choral Students Find Creative Ways to Support Give A Note Foundation

Choral students at California State University, Fullerton, believe that music is “an essential art form,” and they launched a fundraising campaign to support the belief that “now, more than ever, choral music needs to be an essential part of every school curriculum.”

Katie Scavone (left), Vice President, and President Brandon Elliott

Brandon Elliott, a graduating senior who served as president of the Fullerton student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, said students raised $2,000. The group is also a National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Collegiate chapter.
 “We as a chapter believe that music education needs a strong advocate, someone who can increase the awareness and importance of music education.”
He said the donation is intended for the Fund for the Advancement of Music Education (FAME), whose activities are now supported by NAfME’s Give A Note Foundation.
The mission of Give A Note Foundation is to expand and increase music education opportunities for all children and help them develop skills needed for success in the 21st Century. The foundation will focus on underserved and low-wealth areas.
Elliott said students raised money with custom armbands that read “Keep Music in Schools,” sold water bottles, hosted a choral concert, and held a dinner/screening for the film Les Choristes.

April Mendiola, Will Reeder, DeJohn Brown, Chris Jones, Ryan Clippinger, and Fred Hallas are all ACDA members except for Chris Jones, who attended the fundraiser.
Elliott, who is now working on his teacher certification and plans to become a choral teacher, said the Fullerton students’ fundraising efforts continue because arts organizations continue to need support. He said “It was an honor to raise money for your organization.”
On Saturday, September 3, 2011, the Fullerton students are sponsoring a benefit concert which will start fundraising efforts for the 2011–12 school year. The concert will be held at the Fullerton First United Methodist Church, 114 North Pomona Avenue, Fullerton, California.
The beneficiary of this year’s fundraising efforts is a group called Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), a non-profit organization. All concert proceeds will go to support HOLA’s Performing Arts Program in central Los Angeles.

Fullerton students organized a blacklight bowling night as one of the fundraising events.

“There was a time when our group was more of a social club, but we wanted to be more than that,” Elliott said. “Most of the students in our group want to be music teachers, and we know it is important to invest in the future. We are making a difference, and we know that by investing in organizations like Give A Note and HOLA that we are doing that. We want school music programs to stay strong.”
Will the group continue its fundraising efforts as students graduate? Elliott believes it will. “The tradition is in place, and we know that there will always be organizations that need our help. The group hopes to have a bigger and bigger impact. Over the next two years, we would like to set up a grant program where a school could ask for money for choral risers or to buy music,” he said.
“It is a lot to accomplish, but we believe in ourselves. We like to say we are small but mighty,” Elliott said.
 —Roz Fehr, September 2, 2011. © The National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

Photos courtesy of Brandon Elliott