Trumpeting the Sounds of a Success

VH1 Save The Music Foundation Awards CVESD with first grant in multi-year music education rebuild

Jan 30, 2014, 10:00 ET from VH1 Save The Music Foundation

CHULA VISTA, Calif., Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) and San Diego County Office of Education Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) today announced a new partnership with VH1 Save The Music Foundation to ensure all children experience the positive effects of music education.

The announcement was made at the campus of J. Calvin Lauderbach Elementary School, which is one of four schools in CVESD to hire a full-time music education instructor. VH1 Save The Music Foundation provided Lauderbach with $30,000 in musical instruments, with the stipulation that CVESD employ a full-time music instructor to provide music education as part of the school day.

"We are tremendously inspired by our partnership with Chula Vista Elementary School District," said Paul Cothran, Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. "Since day-one when we began working with the district in 2010, we have been impressed by their deep commitment to restoring music instruction and the vision for their schools. We look forward to continuing and building on the exciting partnership with CVESD."

In addition to announcing this year's grant to Lauderbach School, VH1 Save The Music Foundation is proud to announce that they will be awarding four grants to CVESD for the 14-15 school year. Jaclyn Rudderow from the VH1 Save The Foundation is in Chula Vista to meet with district leadership and school principals in preparation for awarding next year's grants.

CVESD had cut music instruction from nearly all of its 45 schools over 15 years ago and had no full-time music teachers until this year. Returning music education to the school day is helping to reverse the trend of diminishing arts education enrollment across San Diego County, officials said.

VH1 Save The Music Foundation announced its commitment to support the introduction of music education starting this semester. CVESD is one of only two new school districts to receive VH1 Save The Music Foundation grants nationwide in 2013-14.

CVESD is proving that it is possible to make music education a part of every child's school experience, said Dalouge Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Youth Symphony.

"We are thrilled that by teaching music to seventy students at two schools we have inspired the District's leaders to return music instruction to all of its students and schools and we are grateful that VH1 Save the Music Foundation is joining us to support the District in this effort," Smith said. "We look forward to telling Chula Vista's story and galvanizing other school districts to give their students a promising future through music."

VH1 Save The Music Foundation's involvement is an outcome of the Community Opus Project, which is a District initiative in collaboration with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. Initially, the Community Opus Project began at Otay and Lauderbach elementary schools, and soon grew to six campuses in the District: Harborside, Lauderbach, Otay, Lilian J. Rice, Rosebank, and Vista Square.

Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Youth Symphony, said CVESD schools are not the only ones feeling the impact.

"This is not about the youth symphony alone, this is about the Chula Vista community. …We have really seen the impact we are having on many, many layers of the community," Smith said.

The Community Opus Project produced a dramatic change in the demographics of the San Diego Youth Symphony. Today, 30 percent of its students are from Chula Vista. This number includes participants in the youth symphony's advanced Balboa Park programs—a tremendous achievement.

In 2008, the youth symphony's demographic reach across the county was very inconsistent. "Our lowest representation was here in the South Bay, at only 7 percent," Smith said. About the same time, Smith and his Board were inspired by reports of the Venezuelan music program called El Sistema, a national youth orchestra program that fosters music instruction in the lowest income neighborhoods. The program inspires social change by inspiring young people in music.

"The program is not about music only, it is about music and opportunity," Smith said, adding that renowned classical conductor Gustavo Dudamel grew up in the El Sistema program and is now director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. "We were very excited by this idea that music in the neighborhood could have a powerful effect not only on musical development, but on the learning of children and the bringing together of community."

Said CVESD Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D., "Music is a unifying medium that solidifies knowledge, and the quest for knowledge. Music is a way for students to open up their understanding of math in a conceptual way, as well as enhance their natural creativity. They learn not only to play an instrument, but also to work as a team. Kids create intense relationships with one another as they practice and perform together."

About the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory

The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) is the 6th oldest continuously operating youth symphony in the United States, and serves over 600 students annually in eleven ensembles from its home in Balboa Park. Skill levels range from beginner to pre-professional, with participating students ages 8 to 25. Concerts are performed throughout the region including at world-class venues such as Copley Symphony Hall, Jacobs Music Center and California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

In addition to its Balboa Park programs, SDYS launched the Community Opus Project in 2010 as a strategy to demonstrate the many benefits of music education, build support for music in the community, and convince school districts to provide music as part of students' regular curriculum. It was so successful that within only three years, the Chula Vista Elementary School District committed to providing music education to all of its students and with the assistance of SDYS has begun to phase in school day music. 

For more information about the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory or to make a donation, call 619.233.3232 or visit

About the Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Chula Vista Elementary School District serves more than 29,200 students at 45 schools. Students experience a rigorous 21st century learning environment that is rooted in effective teaching practices and high-quality instruction while discovering novel methods of instructional delivery. Students receive an education that nurtures every child's imagination, intellect, and sense of inquiry. Working together, we will harness the potential of a collective intelligence rich with the imagination and creativity necessary for students to become difference makers in the community.

About the VH1 Save The Music Foundation

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to ensure all students have access to the benefits of music education. The VH1 Save The Music Foundation purchases new musical instruments to reinstate music education programs that have been cut due to budget reductions or to restore programs at risk of elimination because of lack of instruments. This commitment was made in response to the growing body of research and feedback showcasing the correlation between students who receive on-going music education and overall achievement. The VH1 Save The Music Foundation purchases approximately $30,000 worth of new, high-quality musical instruments for each grant-recipient school. Since 1997, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated $51 million worth of new musical instruments to 1,900 public schools in 192 school districts, improving the lives of 2.3 million children. 

For more information, please contact:
VH1 Save The Music Foundation
1515 Broadway, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10036
(212) 846-7882


Marissa A. Bejarano - Larry Cunningham - Douglas E. Luffborough, III - Pamela B. Smith - Glendora M. Tremper

Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D.

SOURCE VH1 Save The Music Foundation