Community in harmony: Celebrate the Music 2024

The University of California, Davis marching band energizes the audience during the much-beloved Battle of the Bands tradition against Stanford and Carlmont.
The University of California, Davis marching band energizes the audience during the much-beloved Battle of the Bands tradition against Stanford and Carlmont.
Jessica Li
Celebrate the Music 2024

The festival itself has really migrated from being primarily a fundraiser to being what SchoolForce refers to as a friend-raiser.

— Alan Sarver

The 20th annual Celebrate the Music Festival brought the Belmont community together through music, food, and activities.

The event was held on April 28 in Twin Pines Park and featured various bands and musical groups from the Belmont Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) and Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) schools. 

Initially dubbed “Save the Music,” the event was created in 2002 and has been an annual event until it took a gap in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. 

After Proposition 13 was passed in 1978, property taxes were capped, causing funding for public schools to decline. Insufficient funding threatened various school organizations, especially music programs.

“The threat of the loss of important programs like music brought together a group of parents, school administrators, and teachers who got together to form SchoolForce, and from that came Save the Music,” said Joan Dentler, the Senior District Representative at the California state senate.

The event’s fundraising efforts proved fruitful, as the music programs in BRSSD began to receive sufficient fundraising. The event returned in 2022 with a new title: “Celebrate the Music.”

Stanford Marching Band performs at the festival. Stanford students are vital to the musical community in Belmont as they provide mentorship to Carlmont students. (Jessica Li)

The festival focuses on showcasing the talents of young performers through performances all over the park. Lively shows commenced across the park’s three stages, and interactive carnival-style games and promotional business booths lined walkways. 

Alan Sarver, an alumni parent of the BRSSD, has been the Celebrate the Music Festival chair for 18 years. 

“It’s an opportunity to put the schools in front of the whole community in a positive light and lets all of our musicians and performers in both the elementary schools and the middle school and at Carlmont strut their stuff in front of the whole community,” Sarver said.

The event also celebrates the local businesses that support SchoolForce and the BRSSD.

“A major partner is the business community of Belmont and Redwood Shores, and SchoolForce is always trying to partner with every local business to give them a way to donate to the well-being of the public schools and, in return, get recognition in the community,” Sarver said. 

Joseph Murphy is a Co-founder of Murphy Music Camps and ran a promotional booth for the camp at the Celebrate the Music Festival.

“The idea behind the camps is to get the kids going again for their music teachers for the fall. Our camps are close to when the school year begins so that we could get choir and band kids playing again before they return to school,” Murphy said.

SchoolForce aims to build awareness around the music and schools in the community and utilizes the festival to encourage community members to donate and support the organization.

SchoolForce also hosts various events for community members to get involved throughout the year.

“They have a big community auction and other gatherings and opportunities to donate and be involved all year round,” Salver said.

Celebrate the Music is beneficial not only for raising money for musical programs but also for building connections.

“It’s a great place to meet new people and see all my friends. And I love music, and it’s cool to see everybody perform what they’ve been working on this year,” said festival attendee Sam Dechaine.

The festival hosts numerous returning booths, performers, and new ones, including the Ralston Jazz Band, which performed at the festival for the first time this year.

“There are more things unrelated to music this year, which encourages more people to donate, attend, and get involved,” Dechaine said.

The event has also experienced location, timing, and activity changes throughout the years.

“We changed it from running in the fall to running in the spring. The big advantage we found there was that by moving it to the spring, all the school performing groups can showcase how their program has matured through the whole school year,” Sarver said. 

The Celebrate the Music Festival is a special event for the BRSSD community, as it brings together students, parents, and volunteers to celebrate their efforts.

“It is unique because this is a volunteer activity that celebrates our local student music,” Sarver said. “And it’s cool to put on something so different and so much of a demonstration of what our community is all about.”

By Linda Reeder

By Jessica Li

Tuning In: Celebrate the Music Performances
Beyond the Festival

Celebrate the Music’s significance extends past the festival itself. Over the past two decades, the dedication of the festival’s volunteering members and board has been crucial to expanding and saving the music program across BRSSD and SUHSD schools. 

“These programs have long been successful and key to the community. At Carlmont, we’ve seen this continuous growth in supporting the program over the time the festival has been running,” Sarver said. 

Economic downturns have often led schools to turn to music programs as an easy way to cut costs; Sarver is dedicated to changing this reality. 

“We’re dedicated to funding money for the school district to make sure that great performing arts facilities are included alongside new technical facilities and classrooms,” Sarver said.  

Infographic on the financial aspects of SchoolForce. (Linda Reeder)

Sarver, among others, has an unwavering commitment to local music programs. This initiated the founding of crucial music initiatives districtwide. Specifically, the Music Mentors tutoring program has been transformative in inspiring young musicians to pursue their music careers into high school and beyond.

“Music Mentors build students’ enthusiasm and commitment to music because they have a high school buddy showing them how much they can do in the future,” Sarver said. 

In addition to supporting music initiatives in the districts, the festival’s outreach has extended beyond music alone for BRSSD and SUHSD schools. 

“With all the funding raised, BRSSD can provide counselors, science teachers, music teachers, library specialists, and many other extracurricular programs,” said School Board President April Northup.  

Celebrate the Music has invariably provided an opportunity for businesses and organizations around the community to display and promote their programs through interactive booths at the festival.

“It’s a time to not only celebrate the musical and performing skills but also to celebrate those business partners that are actively helping the schools and community thrive,” Sarver said. 

Belmont policeman Dan Friedman found the festival to be a perfect way to promote the importance of the police department in the community.

“We get to meet people in the area and share information about what we do, so it’s a lot of fun,” Friedman said. 

Friedman and other community leaders agree that Celebrate the Music is the perfect opportunity to promote their communal involvement in a unique way. 

“The festival brings people out of their houses so that they can all have a good time together,” Friedman said. “We have a blast each year because all these little kids are coming up and asking all about the police department, what our job is, and how we keep people safe.” 

The excitement of this festival is contagious, and its coordinators hope to facilitate its communal presence for a long time to come. 

“Arts and music have to be supported equally, so by bringing together the community in this festival, it’s important to get the message out to the community so they feel invested and understand the importance of top-quality arts programs,” Sarver said.

By Daniela Cuadros

Volunteer Profiles
Behind the Volunteers
Navigate Left
Navigate Right

By Daniela Cuadros and Ayana Ganjoo

Arranged by Ayana Ganjoo

About the Contributors
Ayana Ganjoo
Ayana Ganjoo, Staff Writer
Ayana Ganjoo (class of 2026) is a staff writer and a sophomore at Carlmont. She is excited to begin covering campus news this year and learning more about the greater Carlmont community. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, ballet, and listening to music.
Daniela Cuadros
Daniela Cuadros, Staff Writer
Daniela Cuadros (Class of 2026) is very excited to join the Scot Scoop Team! Daniela is passionate about learning and exploring her community's diverse stories and backgrounds and hopes to pursue this through this program. Outside of school, Daniela can be found behind the camera, leading service events as part of Key Club or on the track and trails for her school's running teams.
Jessica Li
Jessica Li, Staff Writer
Jessica Li (Class of 2026) is a sophomore, and this is her first year in Carlmont Journalism. She enjoys participating in theatre, playing piano, and hanging out with friends.
Linda Reeder
Linda Reeder, Staff Writer
Linda Reeder (Class of 2026) is a sophomore and this is her first year in Carlmont journalism. She is a staff writer who covers campus news. She enjoys baking, reading, pilates, and hanging out with friends.
Nathan Turnbeaugh
Nathan Turnbeaugh, Staff Writer
Nathan Turnbeaugh (Class of 2026) is an avid first-year writer for Scot Scoop, who looks forward to covering campus events. In his day-to-day, you can find him listening to music, practicing with the football team, and biking around Belmont.

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *