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Keeping the Music Alive for Schools

March 12, 1992

When the budgetary carving knife threatened to slice the music program from the Pleasant Valley School District's list of activities, preventive measures had to be taken. Concerned parents and community members rallied to secure the future of music instruction.

The collective efforts of Save Our Kids' Music--an advocacy committee of the Camarillo PTA Council--can be seen Friday with a benefit concert highlighting two acclaimed orchestras from Cal State Long Beach.

The concert, held at Camarillo's Las Colinas School gym, will feature the university's Saxophone Ensemble and the Steel Drum Orchestra.

"By organizing a series of fund-raisers, we can pay for part-time teacher instruction and keep our music program alive," said Reese Copsey, committee co-chairman. The committee's fund-raising efforts now support a music program for grades four through eight.

The 16-member saxophone group recently gained publicity when it was invited to perform at the World Saxophone Congress in Italy, which will be held later this year. It is the first time a student ensemble has ever been invited to the event, which is held every three to five years around the globe. The ensemble's program will combine classical and jazz music.

With its 35 players, the Steel Drum Orchestra is the largest group of its kind in the United States. It performs music from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad, Jamaica and Cuba. The orchestra's repertoire features difficult compositions, including exact arrangements played by the 100-piece steel orchestras in Trinidad.

"These are quality performing groups that wanted to take the time and help our cause. They're fantastic," Copsey said. "It should be real fun."

The fund-raising event will also include a free saxophone workshop (5 to 6 p.m.) for interested students, conducted by members of the saxophone ensemble.

A steel drum discussion and demonstration will be held at 7 p.m. The concert will commence at 7:30 p.m.

Las Colinas School is at 5750 Fieldcrest Drive, Camarillo. Tickets in advance are $5 and are available at Henson's Music, 2291 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. Tickets at the door are $6, $21 for families. To register for the saxophone workshop or for concert information, call 482-6115.

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