Two years ago the Duarte Education Foundation (DEF) embarked on an unprecedented partnership with the Duarte Unified School District (DUSD). This partnership, known as Music Matters, has one goal - to build and expand musical education programs for DUSD students. With a tall goal of $500,000 over a five-year period, the DEF and Music Matters embarked on an aggressive fundraising campaign.
This campaign will focus on instruments and formal music instruction in all schools in Duarte Unified. Seventy-one percent of students in DUSD live in households at or below the poverty line with no means to purchase or rent an instrument of their own. We have been able to purchase instruments for those in 6th grade at every school. Instrument purchases for 5th grade students were started at three schools prior to 2015-2016 school year. This year’s donations will be used to purchase musical instruments and musical equipment for the remaining schools.
In October 2015, our annual fundraising and auction dinner, La Luna Rosa, was held. One hundred percent of the net proceeds go directly to the Music Matters program. Emceed by Anthony Portantino, the community, dignitaries, and supporters of the Education Foundation came out to help us raise funds for this year’s contribution and to honor this year’s recipients. The 2015 honorees were community residents: Peter and Deborah Vincent, Frank Haynes (posthumously); City of Hope’s Dr. Marcia Miller; Citrus College’s Dr. Arvid Spor; Mariela Avila, DUSD’s Teacher of the Year; and Melissa Ward, DUSD Classified Employee of the Year.
For the second straight year, the dinner was chaired by Lisa Magno-Marino. Lisa’s committee transported City of Hope’s Cooper Auditorium into a Spanish themed evening. The dinner featured Spanish fare, guitarist Gerardo Morales, flamenco dancers Inez del Sol, Kathy Schwengel, and Kirsten Alonso La Argentina, and a lively auction. In addition to the funds raised at the dinner, DEF was able to secure a $15,000 grant from Southern California Edison. With many local and corporate sponsors, once again, our goal was exceeded! A check will be presented at the February 11, 2016 meeting of the Duarte Board of Education.
This year several generous sponsors stepped forward to support Music Matters. 2015 sponsors were Southern California Edison, Banks Power, Citrus College, City of Hope, Duarte Unified School District, Lisa and Larry Marino, Nita Norgard, Piper Jaffray, Rutan & Tucker, LLP, and Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.
In addition, the following donors enabled us to have a very successful auction: Cabbie’s Pizza, City of Duarte, DLL Technology, E-Z Dog Wash, Edward and Helen Ferguson, Five Guys, Foothill Credit Union, Golf N’ Stuff, In-N-Out Burger, Krikorian Premiere Theatres LA Racing, Leighton Group, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant, Max’s Mexican Cuisine, Norman’s Nursery, Paintball USA, Pavilions, Pieology Pizzeria, Scandia, Sea World, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Souplantation, Cheryl Taylor, Thai City, Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley, and Wetzel’s Pretzels.
To the community, donors, volunteers, and sponsors we extend our heartfelt thank you. Because Music Matters.