FRED R. PETERS “FREESAX” FOUNDATION FOR MUSIC EDUCATION ANNOUNCES FIRST SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS AND OUTLINES PROGRAMS AND GOALS FOR 2011The charity, based in Rossmoor and focusing on increasing access to music education, awarded four scholarships, announced in-class assembly programs, and plans its first yearly concert for Spring 2011.
Abraham Perez, a clarinet performance major, and Rachel St. Marseille, a vocal jazz performer and music education major, were awarded the inaugural Freesax Foundation Scholarships at Bob Cole Conservatory of Music’s annual Awards Ceremony on May 9, 2011. These two CSULB students were chosen by faculty and the charity’s directors for their commitment to their art, their academic and professional excellence, and their outstanding potential. “We are so pleased to have met these talented, passionate young musicians, and are happy to award our first scholarships to such qualified individuals.” said Freesax Foundation Executive Director Fred Peters.
Following on the footsteps of these awards, the Freesax Foundation awarded two full intermediate scholarships to middle school music students at Arrowbear Music Camp (www.arrowbear.com), a music enrichment camp located between Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake. These students will be given an amazing opportunity to play with other dedicated young musicians and enjoy a beautiful setting and camp atmosphere.
Music education is dying. Children in California public schools are witnessing the deliberate and painful end of funding for music classes at all levels of our school system. Despite its essential, life-enriching character, and despite the fact that music education is proven to increase test scores, build character and leadership skills, lengthen student attention spans and improve the overall scholastic community, funds for music classes are being cut across the board. A generation of students in California stand to miss out on the tremendous opportunities that music education provides if the trend of cutting funding for music is not reversed.
The Foundation will fight for music on several fronts: by providing monetary scholarships to potential candidates for music teaching positions, by collecting data on the current state of music funding in local schools, by producing concerts and events to raise awareness about the state of music education funding in our schools, and by going into schools to provide education and introduction to various types of music, instruments, and styles of play.
Next fall, the Freesax Foundation will be presenting several in-school assembly programs to students across Southern California. Focusing on the jazz age, music of the 1950s and 1960s, and other captivating eras of musical history, these presentations will be aimed at elementary-aged students and will be designed to generate interest in new instruments and music. Rosemary Peters, the charity’s Programs Coordinator explains that “by getting into schools when students are young and putting an engaging, fun and exciting program in front of them, we can capture their interest early and inspire them to pick up an instrument if they are offered a class.”
Working with our friends at CameroonOne (www.cameroonone.org), and internationally celebrated bass-baritone opera singer Jacques-Greg Belobo we are working to provide financial assistance to Le Conservatoire International de Musique de Yaounde, a developing project in the capital of Cameroon. Freesax and CameroonOne have committed to funding the salaries of music instructors at the institution and collaborating on other supportive measures to assist the fledgling school.
In Spring of 2012 the Freesax Foundation is planning its first ever Fundraising Concert Event. It will be a night of musical performances by friends of the charity, with information on how to help your local district or school improve or start a music program, amazing opportunity drawings and silent auctions, and the chance to network with hundreds of defenders of music in our schools. “The event will be a celebration of life, music, and the substantial legacy of a local music legend, Fred R. Peters” says Melissa Moran, the charity’s Outreach Director.
Fred R. Peters, a lifelong resident of Rossmoor and teacher in Fountain Valley public schools for 45 years, passed away in October 2010 after a lifelong battle with a rare immune condition. Before his death, he and his children started this nonprofit foundation, aiming to increase students’ access to music in schools. Fred was a pioneer and legend of music education in Southern California. He built his music program from a dozen students in its first year to over 300 at its height, and consistently won music festival awards. He developed an amazing group of young musicians every year despite constant resistance from an administration and school board who charged substantial fees for the classes and cut funding for music during any budget crisis.
We invite anyone interested in the Freesax Foundation to visit our website at www.freesax.org, for a more comprehensive overview of our programs, to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call our office at (562) 596-4383 to get involved in this fight. While monetary donations are supremely important to our work, we take donations of musical instruments, are looking for volunteers to help us produce our yearly fundraising concert, and we would love to hear about your local school’s music program—the good, the bad, and the absent.Top of Page