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Music in Need concert continues to help local music programs


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The Coral Reef Elementary choir performed at the 2012 “Music in Need” Benefit Concert, which aims to provide funds for local music programs in need.

The Music in Need: Benefit Concert, which began in 2007, has gone through some significant changes over the years. But through all the variations to the concert lineup and programming, one thing has remained consistent: their goal of helping local music education programs in need of assistance and resources.

The concert, a result of the Music in Need grant awarded in 2007, was created by FIU’s chapter of the Collegiate National Association for Music Education (CNAfME) to benefit and showcase Miami-Dade Public Schools that successfully applied for the Music in Need grant.

After starting out as a “faculty spotlight” concert featuring only FIU faculty members, the past few years have seen FIU music students and the grant winners themselves performing on stage.

Just last year, a new tradition involving a joint performance with the grant winners and music education students began. This year marks another new step for the annual benefit concert, with the grant becoming available for secondary schools in addition to elementary schools.

This year’s edition will take place Dec. 5 at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center at Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public with a suggested $5 donation for each entry. Donations will help fund next year’s Music in Need grant.

“This concert is a way to give back and to say we still support music. We want to help,” said music education major Jessica Sucheck, president of the FIU chapter of NAfME in charge of putting the event together.

The two grant winners this year, the Academy for International Education Charter School and Aventura Waterkeys K-8 Center, each received $250 worth of new percussion equipment, which brings the total amount of money given to local music programs since the event began to more than $4,000.

With ensembles that started just last year, the new instruments provided for Aventura Waterways K-8 Center will allow more students to participate in their percussion ensemble, which will be performing at this year’s concert.

The two-year-old music program at the Academy for International Education Charter School also got a boost from the grant after being awarded much-needed bell sets for their students. Their elementary choir will also be performing at the concert.

But the concert won’t just benefit elementary and middle school students.

FIU Coordinator of Music Education Cathy Benedict, who served as an advisor for the students who planned the project, says it was a great opportunity for the music education majors involved. Not only did they get a firsthand look at what it will be like to run their own music programs in the future, they also have a chance to interact with age groups they may one day be instructing.

“These kids are coming to a college campus, probably for the first time, and then they get to perform with college students. It could be a transformational experience for both the adults and the kids,” said Benedict.

In addition to the grant winners, FIU faculty and students will also be performing in the concert, including:

- Professor David Dolata (Director of Collegium)
- Adjunct Professor Kamilla Szklarska (Pianist)
- Brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
- FIU NAfME Collegiate Chapter
- Sax Quartet (A group made up of Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Sheary and two other education majors)

For more information on the “Music in Need” concert and the FIU School of Music, visit wpac.fiu.edu and music.fiu.edu. 

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