Not a single student at Carlmont knows a world without music class at school; it was simply a part of their elementary school careers. Fourth and fifth grade meant music class. However, eighteen years ago, this reality was a fantasy.
In 2001, a parcel bill was proposed which would give an annual $4 million to the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD). But the bill failed. As a result, it was announced that elementary schools would no longer receive funding for music classes.
Dave Karlin, a local parent, took matters into his own hands. According to SchoolForce, BRSSD’s public school foundation, Karlin “mobilize[d] a group of gather donations to fund music – they raise[d] $36,275 in the first year and save[d] the music program.”
One year later, SchoolForce was founded as a non-profit and Save the Music was put on for the very first time. Since 2002, there has been a Save the Music event each year, allowing for music education to remain in BRSSD elementary schools.
“Save the Music was a specific event that SchoolForce wanted to run to raise funds to make sure that the elementary instrumental program was well-known, supported, and did not have to go under the budget acts,” said Alan Sarver, the chair of the Save the Music committee. “With the momentum that the festival really generated, we’ve been able to maintain fourth and fifth-grade music ever since then.”
But Save the Music does not just impact elementary schoolers, it holds influence over the greater Carlmont community. According to Sarver, over half of all of Save the Music’s volunteers are Carlmont students.
“I wanted to volunteer because I volunteered here last year. People can see how important music is in kids’ lives and it gives kids something to do other than being on their phones,” said Jasmine Cheng, a sophomore.
Other students opt to perform in the event.
“I’m at Save the Music because I’m in the Carlmont choir, and I’m singing with them,” said Laylena Zipkin, a senior. “[Save the Music] is important because it teaches the community the value of having music in our schools.”
The value of music permeates the entirety of the Save the Music Festival. From the performances to the activities and food, music is at the center of it all.
“Really what it means is that the musicians that begin their studies and careers of music in fourth grade hold on to their loves of music and the skills that they build all the way through high school. It becomes a very key component of their academic life and of their progress as whole students,” Sarver said. “It’s been a tremendous win for the students coming through […] and our whole community to have a strong elementary instrumental program.”
Project by: Miles Ozorio, Kimberly Mitchell, Emma Romanowsky, Molly Donaldson, Emma O’Connor, Anna Feng, Maddy Ting, Miki Nguyen, and Veronica Roseborough