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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Fourth annual MESH concert bonds together music family

After four months of planning by Music Education at Saratoga High (MESH) student leaders, the fourth annual Benefit Concert was held on March 13 in the McAfee Performing Arts Center.

The concert followed a theme of “Wish Upon a Song” and showcased MESH high school volunteers performing with Redwood Middle School and local elementary school music students in small chamber ensembles.

The concert raised money for Music Team SF, an organization that provides music education to low-income students in the Bay Area. More than $1,500 in donations were made to the organization.

Fifty MESH volunteer leaders from the high school directed and organized the concert for more than 80 elementary school and middle school participants. Leaders faced the challenge of dividing students into similarly skilled groups, with a MESH leader in charge of each group.  

“There was a lot of planning leading up to the concert, because the MESH leadership team had to organize all of the participants into different skill-level based groups,” junior Alice He said.  

Each performance piece was chosen by both the experienced MESH leaders and the group members themselves. Most pieces were easy arrangements that the middle schoolers were already working on. For junior leader Danny Gao and his MESH group, the musical performance pieces ranged from popular movie soundtracks, such as “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” to classical pieces such as Canon in D.

“The MESH leadership team chose this year’s theme after a lot of brainstorming,” He said. “Leaders tried to make the theme for the concert relevant to the music played, and something fun that students would appreciate.”

Since 2011, the year MESH was created, collaboration between the high school, middle school and elementary school musical students has increased. This program first began with roughly 10 leaders and a little more than 30 performers at the first concert.

Two times a week, volunteer leaders from the high school traveled to the middle and elementary schools to teach students their music. The leaders took students out of their own rehearsals to help improve their skills and to work on performance musical pieces. These practices started in the beginning of the school year and lasted until the benefit concert.

Leaders and participants say they had a meaningful experience in this program.

“Helping out younger children from Argonaut Elementary School and Redwood Middle school has been really rewarding,” He said. “All of the younger music students look up to you, and it gives you an experience of teaching skills in an instrument that you are proficient at.”

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