NEA Chairman Jane Chu’s last stop on her Riverside County, California, on Friday, February 20, 2015 was to Fender Center’s Kids Rock Free® School of Music. Follow @NEAJaneChu and @KidsRockFree on Twitter and Facebook for photos and commentary on the visit to California.
Pamela Hogan and board members George Guayante and Jeff Salash greeted Chairman Chu at the Fender Center’s Kids Rock Free School of Music in Corona where she toured the classrooms and studio for performances by Kids Rock Free students. The attached photo was taken by Melanie Salash, Wild Blue Orchid Photography, when Dr. Chu, set to lay down a riff, praised Fender® Musical Instruments Corporation for their significant donations to this nonprofit community music school where over 15,000 students have taken free and low-cost music lessons in the last 16 years.
Dr. Chu was joined by Congressman Ken Calvert, his staff, Mayor Eugene Montanez, City of Corona staff and representatives from the California and Riverside Arts Councils. Kids Rock Free parents and students shared their music ed life-changing experiences with the Chairman who explained that as a pianist she also turns to music for times when words don’t suffice. She encouraged the students to continue their education and wished them luck with their aspirations. The following students performed for Dr. Chu and guests:
- KRF® School of Music Band “No Surrender” led by Band & Guitar Instructor Lee Zimmer
- KRF® School of Music Drumline accompanied by Drum Instructor Henry Rodriguez
- KRF® School of Music Soloist Breanna Carrera accompanied by Vocal Instructor Christopher Diaz
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Getting ready for the move has meant a discovery of buried treasure in the KRF warehouse.
This past month, a Hammond Organ was discovered. Ruben Guaderrama, our guitar instructor, and Skylar Allingham, our student intern, muscled it up to the Band Room to get it cleaned up and working.
At first there was a bit of a problem. The warehouse contained a Leslie speaker cabinet to project the organ’s sound, and the Leslie is usually standard technology for this model. But our particular Hammond was not compatible.
Ruben says “The Hammond is a staple of older rock & pop records, we really want the kids to be able to experience the full spectrum of music. While a keyboard has settings to simulate an organ’s sound, it’s a very different experience to learn on the real thing and KRF strives to be authentic.”
Eventually, a new speaker cabinet was found in the warehouse, that only needed a few small repairs.
Vicki Woods, our piano instructor, is also excited to introduce the organ to her students. Vicki originally learned to play on the organ and organ music is one of her passions. When we spoke to Ruben he told us–There’s a second organ that needs some repairs. Soon we’ll have a Hammond in the keyboard room and one in the band room–that way everyone who wants access will have it right at their fingertips!
Do you love the organ? Ask Mr. Ruben, Ms. Vicki or student, Drew Karsanow, for a demonstration of the unique sound.
Have you ever heard of the Vibraphone? Our piano keyboards in our KRF classroom have a special setting called the vibraphone which is similar in appearance to the xylophone, marimba, and glockenspiel. The vibraphone, like the piano, is considered a percussion instrument. Most people think a percussion instrument is only found in the drum family, but it is actually any instrument that is played by striking.
Vibraphones have been around since 1927, and were designed by an American named Henry Schluter.
The instrument looks like a piano with large brown-colored aluminum keys, arranged like the piano, but without the black and white colors. It even has a damper peddle like a piano. Since the keys are too large to be played with fingers, mallets are used to play them. Under the keys are metal tubes called resonators. Like a pipe organ, the size determines the pitch. They can be tuned. There is also a small motor to drive a disk inside the resonator.
Now when you select vibraphone on a keyboard, pretend that your fingers are long mallets hitting large keys that will resonate tubes.
Your rockstar is growing up fast. Don’t miss out on making the memory of a lifetime. Register your child by May 15th to perform at the Spring Jam Music Recital.
This is the only time of year all the KRF Kids showcase together.
You take care of them year round, this is their chance to shine for you!
This past Saturday April 26, Mike Peters of ‘The Alarm’ was kind enough to offer up his expertise and talent to Kids Rock Free® at Fender® Center for the Performing Arts. In the afternoon, he spoke in a special Master Class about his rise to stardom and everything that lead up to his success in the industry.
From a lowly band in the UK, proclaiming themselves ‘The Toilets!’ to shenanigans of hiding their band name in order to get on the radio—Peters was a real treat.
Peters spoke movingly about his real desire with regard to becoming a musician. After John Lennon was killed, he realized that all his music had been created for commercial gain. From that point on, he decided he wanted to create art that was honest and real. He wanted to make music that mattered—a goal that he is still fully dedicated to.
Peters is lucky enough to have played with many amazing bands, including U2. Overall, the audience was treated to a unique live memoir of a fascinating man.