MESH holds its annual benefit concert to fund charity program

March 14, 2019 — by Isaac Le and Andrew Li

The audience erupted in applause as sophomore saxophone player and MESH mentor Anthony Qin and his middle school saxophone mentees bowed after completing their rendition of the “Super Mario Bros” theme song.

Every year, the band and orchestra students host the MESH (Music Education with Saratoga High) benefit concert. This year, the concert took place on March 1 at the McAfee Center.

In the MESH program, student mentors from Saratoga High go to Redwood Middle School and Argonaut Elementary School a total of around four times a week to work with the sixth-grade band and the fifth-grade bands and orchestras. After practicing their pieces for around a month, the mentors and younger students play their pieces together at the concert. This year’s repertoire included pieces ranging from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme to “King William’s March” by Jeremiah Clarke.

“The concert was great. Everybody did really well and it was fun watching all the different groups perform,” said Qin. “Everything went really smoothly.”

According to the student leader of MESH, senior Jordan Hill, this year’s benefit concert raised around $1,400 for Harmony Project Bay Area, a charity organization that strives to “improve students' skills for academic and life success, such as problem solving, creative thinking, focus, collaboration, and nonverbal communication” by providing free after school music education. Senior MESH leader Deyshna Pai said that funds that go to the Harmony Project are also used to hire educators and buy instruments and music.

Last year, a portion of the money made from donations and ticket sales went to fund a new music library for the elementary school students at Saratoga, Foothill and Argonaut.

With the success of the concerts in recent years, MESH is looking to expand its influence in the community by integrating more performance opportunities, Pai added.

Overall, Pai is happy with the opportunities MESH gives to both herself and younger musicians.

“I personally feel grateful to play music in a district that values it, and I’m happy that MESH allows me and other mentors to share that with SUSD students as well as with the students who benefit from the work that the Harmony Project does,” Pai said.