Music Starts Here: Students at Orange Grove Elementary School Enjoy a Day of Music Making with NAMM Member Volunteers

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On Jan. 23, 2018, NAMM members participated in a Day of Service, as part of The 2018 NAMM Show. Volunteers supported Anaheim Elementary School District’s effort to bolster music education at Orange Grove Elementary School.

The morning began with a choral performance by second and fourth graders, directed by Principal Alex Ramirez, followed by a check presentation of $10,000 to the school district from The NAMM Foundation.

“At The NAMM Show…we have these big blue signs that say ‘Music starts here’ but the truth of the matter is we’re here at Orange Grove because music really starts right here,” said Robin Walenta, Chair of NAMM's Board of Directors, to Visit Anaheim. “It’s about creating more life-long music makers. Our partnership with the Anaheim School District allows us and the district to create more music education opportunities for the students of Anaheim.”

Throughout the morning, students participated in guitar, drum, ukulele, and choral and movement sessions taught by expert facilitators. 

The ukulele facilitator, Ukulenny, had an incredible experience teaching students the chords to “Stand By Me.”

Guadalupe, a 5th grade student, was overheard encouraging an adult volunteer who sang with her, “Good job. You rocked it!”

John Jacobson, aka “Double Dream Hands,” returned to NAMM’s Annual Day of Service to teach Choral and Movement.

Students learned choreography to Justin Timberlake’s “Can't Stop the Feeling,” alongside their peers and teachers.

Jacobson is an author and composer of choral works and musicals that have been performed by millions of children, and have helped educators excel in engaging students in the classroom.

During the drum circle sessions facilitator John Fitzgerald of Remo encouraged students to express themselves through percussion, asking the group how it felt playing together.

Echoes of happiness were heard throughout the circle, but one voice rose above the rest.

“Awesome!” the student said.

Students participating in the guitar session, facilitated by GAMA’s Glen McCarthy, were surprised to see a young volunteer named Sean Oliu in the room. Oliu, a former student from Anaheim School District, is currently a cast member of Disney's “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

“When I found out that a Disney Mouseketeer was here volunteering, I was so happy I literally had tears,” said Valaria, a 5th grade student and student body vice president, when meeting Oliu.

In the past, Bernie Williams- a former professional baseball player and musician- attended NAMM Shows to check out gear. After meeting Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM, and Mary Luehresen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation, he started attending NAMM’s Annual Day of Service in Anaheim to advocate for music education and work with students.

“[I] try to give kids an opportunity to be involved in music, in schools,” said Williams to Visit Anaheim. “I’m making the best out of it and having the greatest time of my life.”

The Day of Service ended on a communal note, with students, teachers, school board members, administrators and NAMM Members gathered together in the school courtyard to perform, “Stand By Me,”which left everyone inspired and ready to keep music education strong in the new year.

Thank you to the following organizations who helped make the Day of Service possible:

  • D’Addario
  • KALA Brand Music
  • REMO Inc
  • Guitar and Accessory Marketing Association (GAMA)
  • Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Freeman Co.
  • Cordoba Music Group

Interested in attending NAMM’s 2019 The Day of Service? Email Claire Kreger-Boaz.

Photos by Jesse Grant/Getty Images Getty Images for NAMM.

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