May, 2009

The azaleas blooming in the yard indicate that Spring is decidedly here and with it comes the excitement of annual end-of-year musical events. This issue features student performances with an emphasis on "kids helping kids" and great music-making at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Our DC urban program is blossoming as well this year, with several foundation funders applauding our efforts and an outdoor celebration at a national conference. We also look forward to bringing summer musical experiences to MusicLink students through our camp scholarship program. The end of the year is a time to reflect on our growth and success, but mostly just to sit back and listen to the wonderful music our students are making in communities across the country. Our thanks again to our dedicated MusicLink teachers and coordinators for making these musical experiences possible.

MusicLink Students Receive
Steinway Educator Grant

Eddie Mason, Patti Nyien, Faith Mason

The Educator Grant Program is now in its second year and is distributed through the Local Association of the Music Teachers National Association. My MusicLink students were awarded the grant based on merit and need. The grant will be used to pay for tuition, materials, fees and will also pay off the balance of their piano loan. Recently, Faith was diagnosed with Scoliosis and must wear a brace 12 hours each day. The medical bills are increasing. Although they have insurance, their co-pay was $500 last month. The grant will go far to further their studies. They have taken lessons for a combined total of more than seven years. Faith Mason started lessons June 18, 2003 participating in the AIM (Illinois State Achievement in Music) program level 2 her first year and was selected for the honors recital. Continuing to advance one level each year, she is currently on level 7. Faith has also participated in the October Festival. Her brother, Eddie Mason, began lessons on June 22, 2006. He also participated in AIM as a kindergartener receiving the highest score for level 1A March 2007. Eddie is currently a second grader working on level 2 AIM.

I helped them purchase my neighbor's used piano the Fall of 2005 after hearing that their piano was "un-tunable". The grant allows me to continue my commitment to these students and encourage them to keep improving by recognizing their effort. Patti Nyien NCTM, Westmont IL

MusicLink Foundation
Receives Foundation Funding

The Metropolitan DC MusicLink urban program has received a grant for $35,000 from the Webber Family Foundation to support efforts to expand the program to more inner-city sites and continue suburban growth. The inner-city program has reached over 100 students thus-far with plans to double enrollment next year by adding several partnerships with charter schools and youth mentorship organizations. We thank Jessica D'Arcy and Marisol Foster for sharing their interest in our mission.

One DC site has been awarded an annual grant of $2,500 from the Louise P. Zanar Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capitol Region. This grant will provide support for a keyboard and percussion after school program at the Septima Clarke Charter School, which serves preschool through second grade boys in Southeast DC. Our thanks to DC Coordinator Tisidra Jones and Elizabeth McGrail for forming this ongoing partnership.

DC MusicLink Kids Perform
for After School Alliance

DC MusicLink Kids

Students from our DC Urban program were invited to perform at the national conference for the After School Alliance organization. Enthusiasm was overwhelming, with our MusicLink students bringing parents, siblings, as well as aunts, cousins, and grandparents to the reception program. This family support for music is a major goal for our urban program, which received applause and national recognition through this conference performance experience.

MusicLink CD and DVD Now Available

Joanne Haroutounian, Gary Ingle

We thank the MTNA Foundation for providing a $5,000 grant to produce a new promotional DVD called "Faces of MusicLink" and a double CD of student performances titled "MusicLink Shining Stars - A Student Showcase." Joanne Haroutounian personally presented our first copies of these wonderful media PR products to Gary Ingle at the MTNA Conference in Atlanta in March. We thank Brian Chung and the MTNA Foundation for their support of our efforts to showcase the outstanding talents of our students and the array of profiles featured on our DVD that reflect the many aspects of our program.

The following students are featured on our double MusicLink Shining Stars CD: Vladislav and Yuri Boguinia (CO), Tram Bui (OR), Diana Fang (VA), Ik Hoon Jung (OR), Kevin Lu (VA), Dasha Poroshina (OF), Araxi Sayadian (IL), Kai Talim (OR), Alistair, Imala, and Nygel Witherspoon (MN).

Faces of MusicLink can be seen on our website and on our change. org page in three sections. It portrays the program through the voices, faces, and music of our students, teachers, coordinators, and parents - from MN, DC, OR, and Mexico.

The DVD ($25) and CD ($15) are available through website orders or emailing the national office.

Minnesota Play-a-thon Event

Over two days in March the Mall of America in Minnesota was alive with music as 139 students from around the state came to perform at a benefit Play-a-thon sponsored by the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and Schmitt Music. The event included performances on piano, violin, viola, cello, guitar, harp, and voice. Current MMTA president, Patsy Bode, immediate past president Marianne Bryan, and the reigning Miss Twin Cities, Brooke Kilgariff, were all on hand to emcee the event. Barbara Ongna and Sue Freeman-Dopp of Schmitt Music coordinated Schmitt Music's donation of the grand piano for the student performers. Schmitt Music also offered special discounts on pianos to MusicLink families and teachers as part of the event. Students were so excited to play at the Mall of America, which donated the space and promotion for the event.

The purpose of the Play-a-thon was to raise awareness of the value of music education, especially in the lives of young children. Over $8,500 in pledges was raised to benefit the Minnesota MusicLink program. This money will put instruments in the hands of eager students, help move and tune pianos, allow more students the opportunity to attend a summer music camp, and help reimburse teachers the expenses they incur on behalf of their MusicLink students. Twelve of these students personally raised over $200, which earned them an IPOD Shuffle or a gift card. Congratulations to Sydney Anne Ruhland, Will Lansing, Quinn Lansing, Kelly Garzon-Herrera, Jennifer Meles, Lilly Mactraggert, Katie Furey, Hayden Fischer, John Chrisfield, Zack Salmon, Mahlia Putzel, and Beatrice Grant.

The week-end was a great way for students to give back while demonstrating their love of music!

Kelly Garson-Herrera, Beatrice Grant, John Chrisfield


Lexy Gonzalez, Katie Villella, Jenna Nielsen


Lily Mactraggart, Katie Furey, Katie McCormick


Luke Bentz


The Lansing family


Morgan Steffens, Patricia Marie Hernandez, Malia Putzel


Jennifer Meles, James Brockhurst, Kristofer Bergh


Sam Snelson, Andrew Keller


Alastair Witherspoon


Barb Ongna, Sue Wege


Brooke Kilgariff and Alex Ewald


Zack Salmon, Briahna Bryant, Hayden Fischer


Kelly Garson-Herrera, Beatrice Grant, John Chrisfield


Jaylin Wong, Anna McGlone, Sam Snelson


Corin and Isabelle McHargue; Paul and Andrew Keller