Local musicians are ‘Playing it Forward’

By Kirsten Collison, Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee | May 16, 2012


By now, it is likely that you have seen a poster or two around town regarding “Play it Forward!” Regardless of whether or not you’ve taken a moment to read one, we’re certain that is one event that you certainly will not want to miss.

“Play it Forward!” is a benefit concert organized by the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee in partnership with the Kamiak Performing Arts Boosters to raise funds for instruments in the Mukilteo School District’s elementary schools.  Though the middle and high school music programs in our district are thriving, many of the elementary schools barely have enough to get by.

This concert gives the opportunity to showcase a variety of local talents, uniting community members of all ages who share similar passions. Kamiak High School is lucky to have a very strong fine arts program.

We have no shortage of phenomenal musicians who feel the need to give back to the organizations that gave them a start in music. Ours is a community that so whole-heartedly embraces music and involvement in the arts, and we’re confident that the people of Mukilteo will step up to the challenge and make a lasting impression on the lives of the younger generation.

"I like orchestra because you can play fun music with friends.  It's a stress reliever,” said Jiamae Wang, a violinist in Mukilteo Elementary's advanced orchestra.

Fellow violinist Regan Wheeler agrees.

"Music is fun because it gets you mind off of schoolwork and busy life," Regan said.

Lois Beckman, orchestra director and fifth grade summit teacher at Mukilteo Elementary, has made it her mission to ensure that every child has access to a music education.

Studies have shown that those with a musical background score better on standardized tests have more developed social skills, and lead more successful lives. It is truly imperative that for young children to have the opportunity to live up to their full potentials, they must have access to music.

"Our philosophy is to have all students, no matter what the income, be able to check out an instrument so he or she will develop a life-long love of music," Beckman said.

Unfortunately, most of the schools in the district are not near as blessed as Mukilteo Elementary. Many students, especially on the east side of our district, don't have the means to rent or purchase an instrument. Their only option is to borrow an instrument from their school's instrument library, which is likely sparse or nonexistent.

Our goal is to make sure that these libraries are stocked and ready to be used by deserving new musicians.

"Currently we have 88 instruments because of all the parent and community donations,” Beckman said. “We hope other schools in Mukilteo, though this concert, can add more instruments to their libraries."

The night's emcee will be Reporter and Consumer Advocate Jesse Jones from King 5 News.  Among the performers at the event will be the Mukilteo Elementary Advanced Orchestra and a number of award-winning Kamiak High School music ensembles.

The night will conclude with a violin performance from the reigning Miss Washington, Brittney Henry, who will share a brief history of her start in music.

"Play it Forward!" will be held at Rosehill Community Center on May 24 at 7 p.m.  Suggested donation is $7 for students with ID, and $10 for adults.  We will also be accepting tax-deductible donations of band and orchestra instruments at the door.  Details and a list of requested instruments are available on our Facebook page.

Members of the "Play it Forward!" subcommittee are Kirsten Collison (chair), David Carter, Sam Short, and Sally Park. Other members of the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee are Juliana Jorgensen, Jake Landsberg, Olivia, Wiebe, Dean Darrah, and Briana Hinds. Any questions can be sent to playitforward2012@gmail.com.

The Youth Advisory Committee is an opportunity for the youth to talk about community, engage city leaders and connect with their peers. It gives youth a chance to interact with the community by planning and participating in work projects, volunteering at events and serving as role models for all Mukilteo youth.

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