Members of the MusicMakers PTA give a check to the Newhall School District worth $42,000. Courtesy photo.

MusicMakers PTA presents Newhall School District with $42,000 donation

The MusicMakers Parent Teacher Association presented the Newhall School District with a $42,000 donation check for the district’s music program.

The donations were given by parents and community stakeholders throughout the past year, and go to funding the music programs students experience across all 10 district schools.

“Every kindergarten through third-grader receives music instruction, and (each) fourth- through sixth-grader has the option, or elective, to participate in chorus or orchestra,” said Tara Speiser, one of the five music teachers for the district. “So, we’re talking about probably 1,800 fourth- through sixth-graders and every single TK-third-grader in the district.”

While the district covers the costs of five credentialed music teachers, among other things, the donations help offset some of the costs needed to maintain more than 800 school-loan instruments annually, and for materials and supplies that are needed for the program to be as comprehensive as it is, according to Speiser.

“It ensures that the programs we have in place continue to happen, as well as enhancing programs that are in place by making the instruments that students have access to a little better quality, retiring the ones that have been in our inventory since 1978,” said Speiser. “It addresses a myriad of needs that deliver a program of this scale.”

Rich Titus, president of the PTA, said it is the accessibility to the instruments for all students that makes this organization worth keeping and supporting.

“It’s a unique PTA because it’s not centered around a school, but around a program,” said Titus. “You have a really diverse range of students, backgrounds and cultures, and having this whole collection of different instruments that the students can choose from … that inventory of instruments is really what makes this — that and the amazing teachers — a really special program that is accessible to all students.”

One of the donations totaled $10,000 from a sole contributor. However, according to Titus, that donor wishes to remain anonymous. The rest of the donations were compiled by parents and community stakeholders.

“It was still a pretty big surprise … $10,000 from one donor,” said Titus.

The rest of the donations came from parents and community stakeholders, according to officials.

“I’ve just learned the importance of the program, and it’s neat to be on this side now at the district, seeing how much money goes into it,” said Sarah Johnson, NSD coordinator of special programs, testing and evaluation, who had been working at a school site before she came to work at the district office. “And it’s a homegrown environment, which really is a great testament to this city and community.”

“Some of the things that make this program unique in comparison to other programs in California is that it’s in its 42nd year, uninterrupted. So, for a program not to be cut, through all the economic changes and the cycle toward, attitudes toward the arts, is amazing in California.”

For more information on how to support the MusicMakers program and PTA, visit their website at www.nsdmusicmakers.org.

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