Santa Monica High School Wind Ensemble Receives Grant For Chicago Music Festival

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013, 8:51:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

The Samohi Wind Ensemble will perform at the 2013 Chicago International Music Festival, thanks to funding from Santa Monica City Council and Santa Monica Arts Parents Association.
Courtesy Photo
The Samohi Wind Ensemble will perform at the 2013 Chicago International Music Festival, thanks to funding from Santa Monica City Council and Santa Monica Arts Parents Association.

The Samohi Wind Ensemble will receive $8,000 from the Santa Monica City Council’s contingency fund to participate in the 2013 Chicago International Music Festival. A matching grant to the Santa Monica Arts Parents Association, the funding is expected to give the independent nonprofit organization a boost in fundraising in order to cover expenses for students of low-income families to attend the festival and perform at the Chicago Symphony Hall in March.

Council member Kevin McKeown made the request to allocate the $8,000 grant from the Council’s contingency fund. The $8,000 grant was unanimously approved Tuesday.

Robb Brown, fundraising chair of the Santa Monica Arts Parents Association, stated in a letter to council members the Wind Ensemble needs to raise about $16,000.

“To help defray these travel expenses, the Band Parents Association is vigorously fundraising in hopes of closing the gap,” Brown wrote. “The price tag for our scholarship students and the cost of sending the required administrators, chaperones and instruments, is still … high and we anticipate a need of $16,000 to meet our goal.”

He added that the funding would allow Samohi students to engage in a unique experience while also representing the City in the Midwest.

“This tour will be a rich educational experience and will show case the outstanding music program in the Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools. Our outstanding students will indeed be ambassadors for the City of Santa Monica,” Brown stated.

He added the opportunity to perform in a world-renowned venue in a major metropolitan city provides a new stage for Samohi students to perform, which, as a high school band, “are generally relegated to daytime performances.”

Samohi’s Wind Ensemble has 58 members. Brown added most have members have “put enough money aside to pay for this trip” but there are a few “talented and deserving students” that need assistance.

A fundraising gala is scheduled for Feb. 27 at the Broad Stage. Students are also taking part in a personal letter writing campaign “to offset their trip costs,” Brown added.

Another fundraiser, the “Practice-A-Thon,” was just completed.

“The benefits of this trip to the larger community are many,” Brown stated. “In addition to making beautiful music, the students tour experiences go viral, inspiring others to reach for the top.”

McKeown said the City Council has a “happy history” of servicing those in need and deserving of community support.

“We have a happy history of … helping students from lower income families participate in experiences like this that they may otherwise not get to do,” McKeown said.

As part of the trip, not only will students have a chance to perform at the Chicago Symphony Hall, but they will also visit Northwestern University to take in a Master’s class with “world-renowned” teacher and band director Mallory Thompson.

“This truly is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Brown stated.

Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day and Council member Bob Holbrook were both absent for the vote, which was the final action item on the council’s Jan. 22 agenda.

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