November, 2009

Thanks to our teachers, coordinators, and supporters - we are celebrating a significant milestone of MusicLink accomplishments: 250,000 hours of instruction, equivalent to $6 million in scholarship donation reaching 3,600 students through ongoing MusicLink lessons

As we share the upcoming holiday season with our families and friends, our MusicLink family of teachers and coordinators want to thank those of you who have included the MusicLink Foundation as a worthwhile cause for support. Now, more than ever, we personally realize the value of music in the lives of children whose lives may be disrupted by economic hardships.

For those who would like to help us reach more students and have not yet sent in a donation, simply click the DONATE button below or send a check to the MusicLink Foundation, 1043 N. McKinley Rd., Arlington VA 22205. Enjoy our accomplishments in this issue of the Link and have a wonderful holiday season - filled with the joy of music. Many thanks again.


MusicLink Foundation Annual Report 2008-09

Each summer, we gather information about the goals we have reached for the fiscal year, applaud the teachers and coordinators who help make these goals possible, and list the donors who support our programs nationwide. For those interested in our progress, feel free to view and print out this annual report by clicking the button below or going to our newsletter page on the website.

Annual Report (PDF)

Congratulations to MusicLink ‘09 Seniors

Ben Steckly - Abilene, TX

Ben Steckly, has studied piano for 11 years, the last eight under Sherry Frush NCTM of Abilene, TX. Ben was named one of the top ten pianists in the state for grades 11-12 at the 2009 Texas Music Teachers Association Convention. He was a finalist winner out of 37 semi-finalist pianists in the TMTA Student Piano Solo competition for grades 11-12 TMTA

Ben was selected as a finalist in the first Young Artists Competition for the Abilene Philharmonic. He presented a senior recital, May 2009, and performed as a featured soloist at the 2009 AMTA Showcase Concert held in the Abilene Civic Center. He earned medals for state theory and music history tests and performed in many recitals.

For seven years, Ben was a member of the Abilene Piano Ensemble and performed both locally and at the state convention on multiple pianos. An active community performer, Ben was the pianist for the Abilene Community Theatre 2008 holiday musical, “Plaid Tidings.”

In addition to piano activities, Ben also played double bass in orchestras at Abilene High School and Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. He was selected for the TMEA Region 16 All-Region Symphony Orchestra for four years, twice as first chair. Ben is attending Baylor University to study music where he received several scholarships, including the Provost's Gold Scholarship.

Esther Marsden - Redlands CA

Esther Marsden of Redlands CA began lessons in the piano studio of Nancy Walthall when she was five years old. This past year she graduated from Redlands East Valley High School. She was ranked number 4 in a class of 820. She finished the advanced level of Certificate of Merit in piano in the Music Teachers Association of California. She passed the theory test with 93% and received high scores on sight reading, technique and performance which qualified her to perform in the Redlands Branch honors recital sther focused on her music studies, worked steady and finished well. Congratulations Esther!

Promise To Practice
and Benefit Events

Our thanks to Kerry Keck and Samuel Music for starting off the year with a Promise to Practice event in their Illinois store linked with their Clavinova festival. Special thanks to Owen Talbott who individually raised over $250 for the second straight year through his practice efforts. We look forward to a number of these Clavinova-MusicLink events with our business partners during this school year.

Virtuoso Music Studios will be hosting several holiday concerts to benefit the MusicLink Foundation. Debra Schilling is coordinating a holiday recital in the North Point Mall in Alpharetta GA (Dec. 12) and Rodney Ignacio is organizing a holiday music concert at The Village in Orange CA (Dec. 5). What a wonderful way to have students enjoy performing for others as well as helping our MusicLink kids!

Welcome to our new MusicLink Business and Organization Partners

Each year, the MusicLink Foundation offers a list of discounts to our teachers and students as “thanks” for their efforts and commitment to the program. Major publishers offer free music packets to new teachers and discounts up to 50% on continuing music orders for MusicLink students. Teachers enjoy software and website subscription discounts that provide exciting enrichment for students across the country. In addition, we have local dealers in active MusicLink states who provide special discounts on music, instruments, and performance opportunities for our kids.

This year we welcome the following new business partners to our roster:

New Software & Websites: Music Teacher's Helper offers a free studio website for MusicLink teachers.

New Local Dealers and Commercial Studios offering discounts and performance opportunities: Audubon Strings, New Haven CT; Rieman Music, Urbandale IL; Downtown Piano Works, Frederick MD; Metro Music Studios, Inc. MN; Piano Movers Extraordinaire, Braham MN; Piano Tuner John Lee, Minneapolis MN; Piano Tuner Stand Ragnes, Minneapolis/St. Paul MN: La Grande Stereo and Music, La Grande OR; Rice Music House, Columbia SC, Virtuoso Music, Atlanta GA, Orange CA, Houston Tx, Seattle WA; Prime Recordings Inc., Provo UT.

New Organizations: We are pleased to be linking with early childhood programs this year. Music Together is offering discounts for MusicLink teachers who want to receive training. Music for Young Children will have teachers who currently provide scholarship instruction register their students with MusicLink.

Eastman Strings Continues to Help MusicLink Students

There is nothing as exciting as opening a box sent from Eastman Strings and finding a beautiful new violin with bow and case, just for you! That is the joy you see on the face of Minh-Dang Nguyen , a student of Tigranuhi Chapkinyan of Pasadena CA after receiving his violin, thanks to the generosity of Eastman Strings. A second violin arrived at the studio of Lani Bortfield, of Springfield MA, who surprised Melvin Medina with his new instrument at a lesson. We are so grateful for these instruments and now they will make a real difference in the ongoing musical training of these young musicians.

Dulguun Khalter of Arlington, VA performs for Virginia Governor Tim Caine.

Join us for our National
MusicLink Playathon

We invite all of you to join us in an exciting national MusicLink Playathon event over the May 1-2, 2010 weekend. We want to celebrate the joy of making music and Kids Helping Kids at malls across the country and would love YOUR local community of teachers and students to join us in this venture. We are at the preliminary stages of seeking mall venues and sponsors for events across the country. Last year's event at the Mall of America was so successful and FUN that we thought we would take this theme nationally. We are hoping to attract national media for the event, which would help publicize businesses and professional music organizations that take part in the event.

We encourage music teacher organizations, schools, local businesses, and community organizations to bring pianists, instrumentalists, and singers of all ages and abilities to enjoy making music and raising funds for our MusicLink kids through this national Playathon. For details on how to get started, contact Sue Wege (

Students Enjoy Camp Opportunities

There is nothing more rewarding than providing opportunities for students to share music with others through music camp. The MusicLink Foundation awarded $4,000 in camp scholarships to the following students for the summer of 2009:

Marisol Lopez, Shawna Walker, Allison Yang, Lexus Carter Raquel Ta[pia Orozco, and Kaozong Thao, (WI) - Un. of Wisconsin Oshkosh String Camp; Daniel D. Brown (SD) All State Music Camp; Kyle Karlavage (PA) - Woodhaven String Academy; Araxi Sayadian (IL) - National HS Music Institute. Madison Holm (MN) - Northwestern College Piano Institute. Alistair, Imala, and Nygel Witherspoon(MN) - Bravo String Institute. Mari Hayward (MN) - MacPhail Suzuki Institute; Yuri Boguinia(CO) Tanglewood Young Artist Composition Program; Vlad Boguinia (CO) Tanglewood Young Artist Piano Program.

Grass Roots Grants and Teacher Reimbursements

The following teachers and organizations received Grass Roots Grants and Teacher Reimbursement Grants totaling over $2,350 over the past 12 months. These small grants provide assistance in starting a new MusicLink program or project and assist teachers who buy materials or pay for events for their MusicLink students.

Grass Roots Grants: Columbia SC MTA, Walla Walla MTA, Minnesota MTA

Teacher Reimbursement: Carol Ferney (UT), Kathy Miller (PA), Anna Cavallo (MN), Peggy Newhall (VA), Rochelle Mazze (MN), Brenda Ruedebusch (SD), Kathleen Krouse (PA), Audrey Savig (MN), Yolanda Dyche (AZ), Beatriz Levi (IL), Eugenia Alikanova (CO), Beth Winderfeldt (MN).

Holiday Shop Online

Here's a simple way to support the work of the MusicLink Foundation whil e doing your on-line Holiday shopping. Go to, enter MusicLink Foundation as the charity you want to support. Through GoodShop choose your store and shop as usual. MusicLink will get a portion of the sale. Thank you for helping us make a difference!

Facebook savvy folks - VOTE for MusicLink on our website homepage to see how many votes we get for Chase Community Giving through Facebook.

My MusicLink Experience with Victor - by Ann Almond Pope

When I began teaching Victor Edwards, he was nine years old. My husband and I had just moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee after over 30 years in Ohio. For the first time in years I had some unscheduled time on my hands, and no piano students! I heard about MusicLink, and wrote for the brochures, etc. I explained the program to the Hamilton County School Music Teachers and asked for their help in locating a child who would benefit from the MusicLink program. I got a call from an elementary school music teacher telling me that there was a little boy in her class who was very musical, and whom she could recommend for the program. He didn't have a keyboard at home, and no means of transportation to my house. We started out by meeting in the music room at the elementary school when it was available.

He was musical, indeed, but what struck me most about him was his absolutely effervescent personality, and totally positive outlook on life. During the next 5 or 6 years, we “made-do” however we could to keep up the lessons. We were able to get a very inexpensive 61 key keyboard, which he kept in the hallway of his home. We had several piano lessons on that keyboard. Subsequently, we had lessons in the sanctuary of a church just down the street from his home. When the sanctuary was completely gutted for renovation, I decided that it would be easiest if I brought him to my house on Saturday mornings for his lesson. When it was obvious that he needed a full-sized keyboard, I was able to get him an electric piano, paid for by private donors, and the MTNA Collegiate Student Chapter of Bryan College, where I taught for a time. Hal Leonard Co.supplied some of the teaching materials.

Victor and I had a good time together. He performed well, and I included him on the recitals which, by then, I was having for my class of private students. About the time that Victor was ready for high school, he summoned up his courage and told me that he didn't want to take lessons anymore. We had talked about that possibility already, and he knew that we would always be friends, no matter what. He was able to get into a magnet school for the arts, which was not too far from his home. I had hoped and prayed that he would be able to go there (and made a few phone calls toward that end). It proved to be a wonderful fit for him, but as a theatre major, not a music major.

We kept in touch, and I knew that his grades were OK, and was pleased to hear that he was taking class piano as an elective. He called me one day to tell me that he was playing this “awesome” piece called “Velocity” in the high school recital. I went, with some trepidation, and was thrilled to hear his very polished, well-prepared performance. He will be attending college at Chattanooga State Technical Community College this year. His mother has told me that the music lessons helped keep Victor on the straight and narrow and she also expresses her gratitude for the music-related experiences, which have shaped his life profoundly, to the good.

What started out for me as something to fill up some time, and perhaps do some good, has turned out to be a life-changing journey. Even though I have always been aware that music lessons could do much more than give people musical skills, my experience with Victor has affirmed my belief that music can shape lives in all sorts of wonderful ways. Victor and I began a journey that goes on and on. Thanks to MusicLink, which got us together!