By Jose Herrera
Signal Staff Writer
Hundreds of attendees welcomed the return of the WiSH Education Foundation’s SCV Music Festival at Southern California Innovation Park with a night of iconic songs from the Beatles.
WiSH partnered with more than 30 local musicians to host a festival paying tribute to the Beatles on Saturday. Attendees had the option of purchasing simple seating or VIP seating tickets, which ranged from $25 to $600.
All the proceeds from the ticket sales will directly benefit students in the William S. Hart Union High School District, according to Amy Daniels, executive director of WiSH.
“For us, it’s about coming out here and raising money for kids, but it’s also about providing our community with events in which they can have a great time and give at the same time,” Daniels said.
WiSH was founded in 2011 to help bridge the gap in state education funding and provide for student programs in the Hart district, said Daniels.
Throughout the years, WiSH has provided support to more than 21,000 students in grades 7 through 12 in various ways such as donating simple learning supplies like pencils, backpacks, and art supplies or funding programs dedicated to student wellness, arts, STEM classes and more.
Michael Copenhaver teaches at Sierra Vista Junior High School, and he has taught for 20 years in the Hart district.
“Our guitar program started in 2012, and since then we’ve had more than 2,000 kids go through the guitar program,” Copenhaver said. “WiSH has supported our program, and so I’m here to support WiSH. I’m also here to let people know that when they give to WiSH they are giving to the kids of the Santa Clarita Valley.”
“I owe everything in life to the guitar. So, to have a guitar program in a public school and to see kids who would have never thought to be playing the instrument pick it up and excel at it — is a beautiful thing.”
Fred Arnold, a mortgage advisor with American Family Funding, was in attendance, and his company was one of those that sponsored the event.
“As a businessman in the Santa Clarita Valley, you want to continue to support the hard work of the teachers in the school district,” Arnold said.
Arnold has four children, and each one went through either the Hart district or Newhall School District. He added that the funds raised help shore up the school districts’ funding.
“WiSH allows us the opportunity to impact and help fund areas,” Arnold said. “It’s important for our children because we don’t want to leave anyone behind. We want to give them every opportunity to succeed.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda also attended the event to support the WiSH foundation and for a night of entertainment. He said he comes out every year for WiSH events because it’s a nonprofit that “helps our students get the tools they need.”
The Hart district faces much the same problems as any school district in Los Angeles County, Miranda added. The money WiSH raises directly impacts local students, he said.
“At the start of the pandemic, some of our students didn’t have access to the internet or computers,” Miranda said. “The WiSH Foundation helped them out as much as they could.”
Miranda was excited for the music festival not only for the cause but also because it was a night paying tribute to the Beatles.
“I know a lot of the Beatles songs. I’m a fan of the Beatles as anyone in my generation. They had more big hits than anybody. That was music in my era,” Miranda said.
Daniels added the event was spectacular, and she said attendees told her, too.
“It’s a beautiful night under the stars. Everybody is happy to be out. Here we are – outdoors in a safe space, socially distancing and still being able to be together,” Daniels said.
WiSH will host more events in the future and will plan according to any COVID-19 regulations, Daniels said, adding she encourages everybody, if they can, to donate to the WiSH Education Foundation by going to their website, wisheducationfoundation.org.
“We appreciate it [donations] because we don’t get a penny from outside sources. We raise every single penny ourselves from community donations and grants,” Daniels said.