June, 2016

We have completed another school year and we congratulate all of our MusicLink senior graduates! We know they have accomplished so much in their musical studies and their teachers are proud of their achievements. Read their stories in this issue. This issue also features some senior award winners as well as a wonderful Playathon held in Long Island.

Many teachers and supporters ask how they can help more students get MusicLink lessons and opportunities. A summer playathon is a wonderful activity for a local organization to support MusicLink and a Promise to Practice event in a studio gets students to practice towards a goal during summer months while raising valuable funds for MusicLink. The summer is an excellent time to donate in general, providing funds for our camp scholarship program as well as the start of the next school year when there is a need for instrument moving and repair.

As a reminder, please make a quick click trip to greatnonprofits.org to write a review so we can have ten 5-star reviews to keep our top non-profit status. THANKS!

Camp Sponsorship Program Starting to Grow

We have added a number of new sponsors to our MusicLink Camp Sponsorship Program this season, with donations ranging from $250 to $1,250 to assist students seeking summer music camp experiences. Individuals who wish to support a specific student or group of students for these camp scholarships can request to be a camp sponsor with a donation of $250 or more. The organization will provide the name of the student and camp that he/she will attend to personalize the donation. Donors should specify Music Camp Sponsorship Program when they contribute online or with a check in the mail.

Individuals who wish to sponsor one of our more advanced students may wish to make a contribution of $1,000 or more to help these students attend the more prestigious camp programs that last for multiple weeks and can often cost $5,000 or more. Contact the national office at 703-534-9490 or info@musiclinkfoundation.org.

They're off to camp!

MusicLink students are heading off to camp in Ithaca College NY, Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, Abilene (TX) Summer Piano Camp, KC Strings Music Camp in Kansas, DCC Performing Arts Institute in New York, and WSU Summer Keyboard Explorations in Washington. We are pleased to assist these students (who choose the camp of their choice with guidance from their teachers) as they grow in their musical studies. We know they will have fun and meet new friends!

MusicLink Senior Award Winners

The MusicLink Foundation has established a Senior Award of Excellence to recognize a graduating MusicLink high school senior who has shown ongoing commitment in lessons and has made significant progress in musical studies, performing at an outstanding level. The $1,000 award is made possible through the Arline and Russell Bridge Endowment Fund.

Mariana Pye - MusicLink Senior Award of Excellence

Mariana Pye (TX) has studied piano for ten years, including six years with Sherry Frush. She also plays the flute. Her teacher describes Mariana as having "a rare gift for music, excelling to superior levels in all that she does. She has overcome obstacles of being two years younger than her classmates, race, and her father's heart issues with grace, dignity, faith and a quiet determination beyond her years."

Mariana carries an academic average near 100 and is a UIL math competitor. In music, she was a finalist in the 2014 Abilene Philharmonic Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition, and won third place in 2016. She has received Superior Plus ratings in Piano Guild Auditions and NFMC Festivals for multiple years, and a gold medal in TMTA theory tests with a perfect score of 101 for six consecutive years. Mariana was awarded the Texas MTA Glenda Lanier Theory Award, the TMTA Studio Affiliate Participation honorable mention and won first place in the TMTA Whitlock Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed on a senior by TMTA.

Mariana enjoys performing in community Artwalks at the Grace Museum and Center for Contemporary Art and other local venues. She received MusicLink camp scholarships for several years, attending the Abilene Summer Piano Camp. Mariana plans on attending Texas Tech University, majoring in engineering, but continuing her musical studies in performance and composition.

In her essay, Mariana describes the power of a song: "People, whether they consider themselves musicians or not, make an emotional connection to music, just as I did when I was younger. Composers don't manipulate people to feel certain emotions; they simply express their emotions through their music and their listeners feel those emotions. A song is a way to bring people together through an emotional experience, without the need for words. I hope to always be able to share and enjoy a song throughout my life."

Several Achievement Honors Awards of $500 were provided by the MusicLink Foundation this year, recognizing high school seniors who show exceptional progress in lessons.

Jamiah Harrison - MusicLink Achievement Honors

Joanne Haroutounian, Jamiah Harrison, Karie Mulkowsky

Jamiah Harrison (VA), a graduating senior from Annandale High School, has been singing and performing since she was two years old and has been in choir for eight years. She studies voice through MusicLink with Nancy Longmyer. Jamiah has many musical activities beyond school, including singing in an a capella group called Empyrean Heights and performing as lead singer in the pop/rock band, Portable Grand.

Jamiah plans to attend James Madison University, majoring in music. She may possibly transfer to Berklee College of Music in the future. "Much love, and remember to keep music in your lives forever." - Jamiah.

Jamiah's $500 Achievement Honor Award was provided by the Dean Bradwell Sheppard Memorial Fund. The award was presented by Karie Mulkowsky at Jamiah's Senior Recital.

Lia Chiflemariam - MusicLink Achievement Honors

Barbara Gholz and Lia Chiflemariam

Lia Chiflemariam (VA) has been a MusicLink student in piano and violin for seven years, studying violin with Barbara Gholz and piano with Denise Adkins and Nancy Breth. She has won numerous competitions, including the NVMTA's Judy Leonard Award and the McLean Youth Orchestra's Concerto Competition, placing second in the NVMTA Piano Concerto Competition. A self-taught composer, Lia has won several finalist prizes in NVMTA composition competitions. She was concertmaster of the McLean Youth Orchestra for three years and then became concertmaster of the Musikfest Chamber Orchestra for the 2015-2016 season, as well as playing first solo first violin in chamber ensembles.

Lia states, "I have always enjoyed music from a very early age, and have enjoyed being a mentor for my brother who is also an aspiring musician. I hope to perform and write as much music as I can, with plans to study performance in the near future. I hope to travel all over the world and share musical knowledge with others. I have always dreamed of opening a music school in a developing country."

Lia's $500 Achievement Honor Award was provided by the Arline and Russell Bridge Endowment Fund.

Timothy Baek - Ruth Stenson MusicLink Award

Sue Wege and Timothy Baek

Timothy Baek (MN) has been a MusicLink student for seven years, studying piano with Sue Krebsbach and clarinet with John Krebsbach. He was a clarinet section leader in his high school band and also played clarinet in the high school orchestra. After having successfully completed a number of AP courses, he graduated this spring from East Ridge High School with a 4.0 GPA and will be attending the University of Minnesota with a major in nursing. He plans to continue his musical studies while in college. Timothy is the 2016 recipient of the Ruth Stenson MusicLink Award of $1,000, established in memory of a MusicLink teacher to a graduating senior in Minnesota who has shown outstanding achievement in musical training through the MusicLink program. The award was presented at the MMTA convention by Sue Wege, MusicLink National Director of Coordinators.

MusicLink Legacy Partners

Thanks for providing ongoing support:

  • William & Brigid Brakefield
  • Louise P. Zanar Fund
  • William & Joanne Haroutounian
  • MusicLink Board of Directors

New York Playathon Raises $1,700
for the MusicLink Foundation

Sam Varon, Patricia Cestaro, Olivia Gotlib

On Saturday, April 16th, Patricia Cestaro, Northport's MusicLink Coordinator, brought together teachers and student volunteers to hold a fundraiser for the MusicLink Foundation at the Walt Whitman Shops in Melville, New York. The event was held in the rotunda, a large circular area in the middle of the mall. Our thanks to Sam Varon, manager of Faust Harrison Piano Store, who donated a seven-foot grand piano and a Clavinova for the event. In addition, they set up a sound system to amplify the performers and instruments.

Approximately 45 musicians participated in the one-day event, playing great music from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The performers were students, teachers, amateur and professional musicians. Performances included piano solos and duets, piano and cello, piano and saxophone as well as vocal performers.

Volunteers were stationed at three different tables for sign in, donations, and gifts. The event was staffed by Patricia Cestaro, Tami Levy, and Olivia Gotlib. In addition, there were two high school volunteers and three middle school volunteers who assisted in staffing the tables. Olivia is a high school junior in the International Baccalaureate program; the fundraiser was her IB community service project. The fundraiser has been approved as a community service project for the IB program. This will allow students to continue running the fundraiser, bringing in new students each year.

Performers who donated $25 received a tote bag, and those donating $35 or more received a MusicLink t-shirt. Overall, the event raised $1,700 for the MusicLink Foundation. Next year, teachers and student volunteers are hoping to repeat this project, but on a larger scale. They are hoping to obtain some corporate sponsors and have more musicians sign up to have performances fill a longer amount of time, with more music and generosity.

Congratulations to our
Graduating Seniors!

Kyle Karlavage (PA) has been studying cello with Kathy Miller through MusicLink since 2004. He will be attending Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA studying Radiation Therapy. He will continue his music studies by participating in the Bloomsburg University Orchestra.

Kyle has been seen on the MusicLink brochure for many years, with cello in hand at a summer music camp program, with the assistance of a MusicLink camp scholarship.

Kathy Miller with
Kyle Karlavage

Kyle Karlavage on
MusicLink Brochure

Amra King (GA) is a piano student of Mary Marshall Dekkers. In her own words: "I've been playing the piano since the sixth grade, and it is a huge part of my life. Outside of my piano lessons, I take interest in many other things. I play volleyball for Shiloh High School and Atlanta Boom. I also enjoy helping with my community at my church. I volunteered to be on the youth council at Berean Christian Church, which is a group of young people dedicated to help our peers develop healthy relationships with not only one another, but with God as well. I have also been playing the viola since sixth grade. During the summer, I work at Stone Mountain Park in the candy kitchen, where I sell fudge and candy (if I'm not eating it!) All in all, music has shaped me to be the well-rounded person I am today." Amra will be attending the University of Georgia majoring in marketing.

David Lynch (NY) has been part of the MusicLink Program at Dutchess Community College Music School in Poughkeepsie, NY for seven years. In his own words: "Taking private lessons with Jean Vilkelis every week has made me a better cellist and has opened many doors of opportunity for me. I'm in the advanced orchestra at school, I've played at weddings, sorority events, fundraisers, confirmations, and commencements. These opportunities would never have been offered to me had it not been for the patience and dedication of Jean Vilkelis and my other teachers through the MusicLink Program. I am forever grateful to MusicLink, and I could never explain the love I have for music. Thank you for teaching me to love music more than I already did and shaping me into the cellist I am now. I plan to continue cello while in college as well."

Shaili Shah (TX) has studied piano for 11 years with Sherry Frush, NCTM and has worked at Frush Music Studio as a student teaching assistant for four years. She has earned medals on the TMTA state theory tests and has performed for eight years as a member of Abilene Music Teachers Association ensembles. She has displayed projects and earned medals in the TMTA All Star Festival and has earned NFMC gold cups for six years of consecutive superior festival ratings as well as the NPGT Paderewski Medal for ten years of superior ratings in the National Piano Guild Auditions. Her teacher describes Shaili as quite dedicated and a giving person, with a strong faith that constantly guides her. Shaili plans to major in architecture at California Polytechnic State University.

Student Spotlights

Have you seen our new student spotlight feature? So far in 2016 we have featured three outstanding MusicLink students. The spotlights can be found on our MusicLink Facebook page or on our website. On our home page, it is on the far right, under the Business Partner Spotlight. Click on "Read More!" to see all of them. If YOU have a student who deserves some time in the spotlight, please email us your nomination at info@musiclinkfoundation.org and put Student Spotlight as the subject line.

New MusicLink Teachers

We welcome 16 new MusicLink teachers to our roster, all joining or returning in the past few months. This brings our overall teacher total to 2,470 with 331 currently teaching MusicLink students.

CO: Patricia Mack; FL: Crystal Bujol; IL: Carole Martin; MN: Debra Chenoweth, Kirsten Levorson; Returning - Deanna Holst, Returning - Sam Rudy; OR: Elizabeth Willis, Returning - Susan Todd; NY: Johanna Kosak; TX: Brenda Freed, Joe Naquin III; VA: Richard Wilmer, Brian Jones; VT: Barbara Smith; WA: Oscar Spidahl.

New Business Partners

We welcome the following new business partners and organization connections. Look for their particulars on the Business Partner page of our website.

Tom Sheetz Piano Tuning (MN); Music For Life (VA); Rhapsody Music (VA); Vero Beach Opera (FL); dxt Rotary Woodwind Fingering Charts/Training Aids; Abundant Silence.

Background Checks

As a foundation that links children with teachers, we at MusicLink take the safety of our students very seriously, and for that reason, we require background checks on all of our teachers. Additionally, our insurance company requires this safety measure. Our Assistant Director Andrea Shore is working diligently to contact teachers who may still need to complete this requirement. If Andrea contacts you regarding this important matter, your cooperation is appreciated. She will need your date of birth, social security number and a physical home address (not a PO Box). MusicLink does not keep your social security number on file (paper or electronic) once this requirement has been completed.