May, 2011

The Spring season of 2011 was bursting with Playathon music-making by students across the country who had the opportunity to perform in area malls and help our MusicLink kids in the process. We share their fun in this issue as well as the growth of programs in new states. MusicLink teachers and coordinators are gathering steam to reach the goal of 5000 students in all 50 states by the end of 2012.

We rely heavily on the support of donors and business partners to keep MusicLink financially secure and provide instruments and music for our MusicLink students. Read about the impact several memorial funds have made on MusicLink students in this issue and the joy that is shared by our business partners who provide materials to teachers and students.

Each year, we are amazed at the improvement students make through lessons, also realizing that the relationship with a caring teacher reaches well beyond correct notes on the page. As always, MusicLink relies on the efforts of our teachers and the coordinators who work diligently to make vital links that truly changes the lives of children – through music.

We thank our donors for their continuing support and encourage you to click on the DONATE HERE button below to help us reach our MusicLink 5000 goal.


MusicLink Goal 5000: May 2011 total: 4,436 students

The MusicLink Foundation will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2012 with a goal of reaching 5000 students in all 50 states. Thus far we have reached 4,436 students with teachers contributing 295,000 hours of instruction, equivalent to over $7 million of in-kind donation. We currently have MusicLink programs in 35 states and 5 Canadian provinces. We were pleased to add New Hampshire and Alabama to our roster, thanks to the efforts of regional coordinators, Sue Wege and Judy Vanesse.

We welcome the following new MusicLink teachers: AL Misti Short; FL Rebekah Chamberlin; ID Colleen Hunter; MN Kirsten Levorson, Michael Portz,; NV Marvin Mings; NH Carleen Graff; NC Catherine Charlton; ND Michelle Kallod; OR Kim Weber; VT Sherry Belisle; VA Laura Bogart, Melody Payne.

The following teachers have returned to the program, taking on new MusicLink students over the past few months: FL Connie Swett; MN Margaret Maxwell; PA Sue Garnhart; TN Ann Almond Pope; TX Solveig Englund; WA Marina Aur-Munter, Dianne Nichols.

Donors Make a Difference

David Lynch of Poughkeepsie NY

Jeanne Dolamore, a New York MusicLink teacher and coordinator for many years, established a memorial fund for her father, Chet Porcino that has been used to support several students who are taking lessons at the Dutchess Community College MusicLink program. David Lynch is studying cello with Jean Vikelis and Onyla Linton is studying bass with Bruce Jackson. We thank Jeanne for thinking of MusicLink as a fitting remembrance for her father.

Helen Libonati of Portland Oregon, also a dedicated MusicLink teacher and coordinator, established a memorial fund in remembrance of her husband, Carmen Saracco, who passed away in December, 2010. These funds helped several Oregon students to attend Suzuki camps this summer.

Jennifer Meles has enjoyed performing in the Minnesota Playathon at the Mall of America for the past three years as an adult student. Each time, she was most impressed with the performances of Alastair Witherspoon, an outstanding violinist and violist from Minneapolis, studying with Lucia May through MusicLInk. When she learned that Alastair was trying to help raise funds to buy a new viola that he loved, she asked “How much is it?” A check of $625 provided a new instrument for Alastair, thanks to Jennifer's generosity and personal support for MusicLink.

Alastair Witherspoon,
Jennifer Meles and her son

MusicLink is Growing in Louisiana

When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck Louisiana in 2005, many families of both music students and teachers were left homeless and without income. Teachers and music organizations nationwide, including MusicLink, generously gave both music and monetary donations to keep music alive in devastated areas.

As life returns to normal and families gradually recover from both hurricanes and oil leaks, many families still cannot afford music lessons. During the Katrina/Rita years, the Louisiana Music Teachers Association established a “Save Our Students” fund to aid families and has continued the fund as “Students Helping Students” which is supported by students performing in playathons around the state.

In 2010 LMTA partnered with MusicLink to provide additional benefits, especially discounted and free music provided by music publishers and materials available for teachers’ use with these students. Eight Louisiana teachers and 25 students are currently registered with MusicLink and taking advantage of these benefits. Through the partnership with MusicLink, LMTA continues to keep the beat - and more - in Louisiana.

Kevin Crosset from GuitarSam, Montpelier VT
with MusicLink plaque

Business Partners Make a Difference

The grass-roots nature of MusicLink relies on the support of business partners in the community who know our teachers, personally, and care about providing help to MusicLink students in their immediate area. The MusicLink Foundation provides a plaque that can be displayed in the store as well as a link on our website. We welcome the following new business partners: Rizzotti Studio of Music, Providence RI; Handmademusic Inc, Manchester NH; Ed Sueto Music Publications Inc., Rockaway, NJ; GuitarSam, Montpelier, VT.

Music Bag Press is a long-time business partner for MusicLink owned by the husband/wife team of Joe Gray and Ann Lawry. They have been providing “Just the Facts” music theory workbooks for MusicLink students for years. Ann explains why they do this: "It is so important for students to study an instrument in their education. We are glad to help in an extremely small way. The MusicLink teachers are so generous with their time, giving this opportunity for music lessons to these deserving students."

MusicLink Camp Scholarships

This year, MusicLink will be sending 20 students to camp, with scholarships totaling $4,560. The following students received these scholarships: GA: Kaylyn Ferguson - Atlanta Suzuki Institute; IA: Emily Filmore - Preucil School of Music Chamber Music Festival; LA: Cara and Ryan Filfield, Kathryn Dardar - Ebeyer & Lack Piano Camp; MN: Alastair, Imala, and Nygel Witherspoon - Bravo String and Keyboard Institute; Karmita Walker, Janai Ford, Chameer St. Urbain - Camden Music School summer programs; OR: Sebastian Manzo, Halley Toffner, Jasnery Valenuella, Sophie Porterfield - Oregon Suzuki Institute; SD: Daniel and Benjamin Brown - SDSU All State Music Camp; VA: Purev Arslanbantar - Westminster College Vocal Institute; WI: Lexus Carter, Kingsley-Reine Pissang, and Raquel Tapia - UW Madison Summer Music Clinic.

Playathons Raise $12,000 for MusicLink Kids

Playathons were held in Minnesota and Virginia, with hundreds of students performing in malls, raising funds through pledges for these performances to “help our kids”. Playathons are a win-win event for all. Teachers love seeing their students showcased publicly, students love playing on grand pianos provided by MusicLink business partners, and the proceeds provide ongoing funding for camp scholarships, music, and instruments for our MusicLink students.

The summer is a great time for practice incentives through Promise to Practice events in the studio, or for a Playathon event for a local organization, a group of teacher colleagues, or a community group seeking an enjoyable summer performance event, for fun and charity support. Check our website homepage for details on how to organize and get started with these events.

MN: The Nordstrom Court at the Mall of America was alive with music March 19th & 20th where 210 Minnesota students and teachers performed, raising over $10,000 for the MusicLink Foundation. Piano, guitar, violin, viola, cello, recorder, voice and French horn were all represented. The reigning Miss Minnesota, Kathryn Knuttila emceed on Saturday and performed 2 original piano pieces. The funds raised will help pay for practice instruments, music, piano moving and tunings, instrument repairs, expense reimbursement for teachers and Summer Music Camp Scholarships for students. Pictures from the event are posted on the MusicLink Facebook page.

VA: Sixty students and teachers from the Northern Virginia area and Washington DC enjoyed performing at Macy’s Court at the Tysons Corner Mall in Vienna. The Steinway Gallery generously provided use of the piano and students enjoyed an ongoing audience of shoppers gazing from all sides at students performing on piano, violin, accordian, voice, and even Chinese harp! The playathon raised $2,000 for the MusicLink Foundation.


Students Raising $100 or More for the Playathons

All student participants in the Playathon receive a MusicLink “success” pin. Those who raise $25 receive a string backpack. Those who raise $100 or more have their photos in our eLINK and those who raise over $250 receive an ipod Shuffle or a gift card from our MusicLink business partner. The following students raised over $100 – with our THANKS!

Seoyon Susanna Lim

Amber Olson

Beatrice Grant

Michelle Bergh

Lili Arteaga

Libby Robinson

Kelly Garzon-Herrera

Ella Ross

Ethan Hyman

Tianna Dahlin

Grace Kroese

Katie Erickson

Megan Schroeder

Frankie Mcleod

Laura Carlson

Madeline Budde

Jamie Staeben

Lianfang Wang

Miyon Park

Ben Celestino

Anna McGlone

Carly Mumm

Jacob Vainio

Rochester Violin Ensemble

Christian Batchlor

Dimitri and Aleco Psomes

Joey Leehey

Juliana Karels

Orestes Hadjistamoulou

Sabrina Martin

Singing Strings

Students Raising $250 or More for the Playathons

The following students raised over $250, receiving an ipod Shuffle or gift card from Schmitt Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kristin Brynsvold

Monica Rampetsreiter

Sydney Ruhland

Derek Racek

Charlie and David Kamper

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