December, 2011

The MusicLink family of teachers, coordinators, and students wish all of you a very happy holiday season! As we start 2012, we mark the 20th anniversary of the MusicLink Program. We remember those early days when we set a goal to reach 50 students in Virginia that first year! I remember holding all of the student files in a 4-inch wide file box – still on the shelf in the national office.

2012 New Year’s Resolution: Reach 5,000 students in all 50 states!

Now we have set a goal to reach 5,000 students across the country and have active MusicLink programs in every state! We thank all of our wonderful teachers and coordinators for reaching out to students in need in 40 states and 4 Canadian provinces to bring ongoing music instruction into their lives. Check our homepage for daily updates – now totaling over 4,770 students, with in-kind scholarship donation by our teachers equivalent to $7.4 million.

Donors Make a Difference

We want to sincerely thank all of our donors who consistently support our mission to provide music instruction to promising students in need. MusicLink relies solely on charitable contributions from the public to bring music, instruments, camp scholarships, and other opportunities to our MusicLink students. We invite you to look over our 2011 Annual Report and spend a bit of time reading Profiles of our students, coordinators and teachers to realize the value of your contribution.

Several EASY ways to help our kids – When shopping online for the holidays, simply click on Good Search for added coupons at hundreds of sites. A portion of every purchase can go to the MusicLink Foundation.

If you are looking for that special gift for someone who loves music but really has everything – instead of a music mug or tie - why not a donation to the MusicLink Foundation in their honor? We will send them a special holiday letter to acknowledge this donation. For those who would like to help us at this time of year, simply click on the DONATE HERE button below to help us reach our MusicLink 5000 goal. Our thanks and best wishes to you for the holiday season!


Graham Sawyer

Illinois Clavinova Festival
Benefits MusicLink

A Clavinova Festival was held on November 19, 2011 at Piano Distributors in Fairview Heights, Illinois with approximately 60 students from 5 participating teachers. A big “thank you” to Yamaha and Piano Distributors for sponsoring this successful event. Manager Dennis Collins organized the festival and plans to continue this yearly event. We appreciate his willingness to collaborate with MusicLink through Gateway Arch East MTA and Illinois MusicLink Coordinator, Deborah Meier. Over $500 was collected from pledges to benefit children in Illinois. 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.

Cora Hrebec

Two students, Graham Sawyer and Cora Hrebec, raised $100 each for MusicLink. Thanks to all the participants who raised funds through pledges for these performances and promoted MusicLink by “kids helping kids!”

MusicLink playathons are another way to feature the joy of sharing music with the public and help raise funds for our students. MusicLink playathons are scheduled in Missouri, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Virginia for this school year. Interested in organizing a playathon in your community? Check our website homepage for details.

New Teachers and New States

The MusicLink Foundation recently added Ohio, Alaska, and Rhode Island to its map of active programs. We are still seeking teachers from DE, HI, ME, MI, NE, NJ, NM, NV, WV, WY, to complete our goal. We are pleased to welcome 22 new teachers to our roster in the past two months: Linda S. Green AK; Sally Sumner CA; Rochelle Garman GA; Jennifer Leckie IL; Marcia Mally IL; Emily Olson de Alvarez MN; Randall Martens MN; Derrick Raiter MN; Rick Sellen MN; Cheri Sykes MN; Patricia Parent, NH; Rachel Beard NY; Sam McCoy OH; Andrea Schludermann OR; Reva Jean Beck TX; Hope Armstrong Erb VA; Ellen Pickell WA; Paul Hastil WI; Alex Kalfayan WI; Jeongmin Lee WI; Laura Mericle WI; Louka Patenaude WI; Shannon Whaples WI; MyungJin Yang WI.

New MusicLink Business Partners

The MusicLink Foundation relies on the partnerships with MusicLink Business Partners to assist in bringing instruments and materials to our kids. Hungry for Music, based in Washington DC, is a non-profit organization that acquires and distributes instruments to students in need and has already donated a much-needed cello to a MusicLink student in Georgia. We are pleased to work closely with founder, Jeff Campbell, to raise awareness of our organizations and promote fund-raising through events that help deserving young musicians. For more information:

Keys 4/4 Kids

We also have a close partnership with Keys 4/4 Kids, a non-profit with a similar mission of bringing music instruction and instruments to children in need. They have been most generous in providing refurbished pianos to our MusicLink students including moving and tuning the pianos. Keys 4/4 Kids now has sites in 3 locations—St. Paul, Chicago & Kansas City. MusicLink teachers seeking a piano for their MusicLink students should contact Heather at the St. Paul location at 651-303-1205

Vermont Violins in Montpelier, VT recently became a MusicLink Business Partner, supporting their local MusicLink program with discounts on music and materials for MusicLink students and teachers and free or reduced instrument rental.

Ruth Stenson MusicLink Award

Annika Sahlstrom

Annika Sahlstrom (Tracy MN) was the 2011 recipient of the Ruth Stenson MusicLink Award. This $1000 scholarship, which recognizes the outstanding achievement of a graduating MusicLink student, was presented to Annika at the Minnesota Music Teachers Association state convention and was made possible by funds raised at the 2011 MusicLink Playathon.

Annika has studied piano with Anna Jeanne Flesner (NCTM) for six years through the MusicLink program. She has performed solos in student recitals, duets with other students, and joined family members presenting programs at senior centers, church services, and community outreach programs. She accompanied her local young girls’ ministry group, “Bright Lights,” as well as performing in state solo and ensemble contests connected with her school.

Annika also plays violin and enjoys playing “fiddle” with her grandfather on guitar, playing at bluegrass festivals with her family band, the Berge Family. She sees music as a huge part of her life and “one of God’s most wonderful gifts to me.” She states: “Music is a way that I can express myself and encourage those around me. It is a language in itself that is universally understood. In my years of instruction, I have learned that music is a discipline. It takes a lot of work, effort, and dedication, even if you are naturally gifted. I know that there is so much more that I have to learn. I am very grateful for my teachers who have invested so much time and effort in me. Music is something that will follow me into my future. I can’t imagine ever letting it go. Music will always be a part of me that I will want to share with others.”

2011 MusicLink Graduates – Congratulations!

Sarah Best

Sarah Best graduated with honors in December 2010 from Cooper High School in Abilene TX where she was extremely active in the drama and music departments. Sarah studied piano with Sherry Frush (NCTM) for eight years and also worked as a staff student in Frush Music Studio. A dedicated and devoted musician, Sarah loves to play selections that are rare and unique with which she won multiple performance competitions at the local and district level. She performed in numerous recitals, festivals, adjudicated events and at the TMTA state convention on the collegiate ensemble. Sarah also earned medals in the state theory test and earned a top senior award in participation from Abilene Music Teachers Association. She is currently attending the University of Washington in Seattle.

Ana Michelle Gonzalez

Ana Michelle Gonzalez is from St. Paul Minnesota. Her piano teacher, Karen Becker (NCTM) is proud of the consistent progress she made in her four years of MusicLink lessons. Ana graduated from Tartan High School, active in swimming as well as doing outstanding work academically. She shared her musical gifts as a pianist, leading worship music at her church. She is currently attending UW-River Falls to study psychology. From Ana to her teacher: “Thank you so much for all that you have taught me and for helping us out with the music scholarship because without it I would never have been able to have this opportunity. Thank you for all your patience and for pushing me to always do my best.”

Madison Holm

Madison Holm is a home-schooled student from Rush City, Minnesota. During her five years in the MusicLink program, studying piano with Kristi McNellis (NCTM), Madison has grown as a musician and performer. She has performed in the MMTA Honors Concert three years, and has also benefited from completing MMTA Piano and Theory Exams. She also participates in Guild Auditions, and had a wonderful experience attending the Northwestern College Summer Music Program thanks to a MusicLink Scholarship. Madison is a frequent pianist for her church's worship team and also plays keyboard for a Christian rock band. Madison received a scholarship to study music at Crossroads College in Rochester, Minnesota and plans to major in Music Ministry.

Additional 2011 MusicLink senior graduates: Hongyu Chen CA, student of Deborah How; Mary Frazier TX, student of Sherry Frush; Sophia Otero NC, student of Isabel Samfield; Alyssa Taubin IL, student of Marie Ann Vos; Karisi Tso VA, student of Ricardo Cyncynates.