This coming Sunday marks the second annual Columbia Festival of Winds, organized by the Columbia University Wind Ensemble. In February of 2008, Jeremy Seltzer (SEAS ‘09) and current Vice President Paul Lerner (CC ’11) came up with the idea of a music festival to benefit music education. They knew how lucky they were to go to schools that offered them a musical education and wanted to give that same opportunity to students in New York City, who might not otherwise be able to play an instrument. Unable to find a charity with the aims they wanted, they founded their own charity, Making Music Matter. The charity selects 16 fourth grade students from P.S. 125 and gives them the opportunity to learn how to play the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, or flute. Making Music Matter pays for all the instruments and accessories, and members of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble go to P.S. 125 twice a week to teach the students their chosen instrument.
This year, the festival is featuring 6 wind ensembles; Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps, Princeton University Wind Ensemble, Manhattan Wind Ensemble, Jambalaya Brass, Frank Sinatra High School Band, and the Columbia Wind Ensemble. The students from P.S. 125 will also be performing. At around 6pm, all the bands will perform one number together. The Columbia University Glee Club will also be performing throughout the festival. The headliner performer is famous jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet.
The festival was a large success last year, and Making Music Matter hopes to make enough money to allow the students who have learned to play this year to continue and bring more students into the program. The 60 members of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble practice twice a week to prepare for the performances in addition to the extra planning of the festival, like finding other wind ensembles and booking jazz greats to perform. However, it is worthwhile to the members of the wind ensemble. President Leonore Waldrip (BC ‘10) said “when these programs are cut from schools, these children don’t have the parental support or financial resources to learn instruments on their own,” and Making Music Matter is trying to help bring the joy of music to some of these childrens’ lives.
Want to help children learn how to play instruments? The Columbia Festival of Winds is on Sunday, March 7, 2010, from 2p.m. to 10p.m. in Roone Arledge Auditorium. Tickets are $5 with CUID, $15 for General Admission, and $30 for VIP tickets (which get you a free t-shirt, priority seating, and free admission to the pizza party). Your ticket is for the entire festival. You will receive a wristband that will allow you to come and go at your leisure. There will also be t-shirts and CDs on sale. More information is available on their facebook event and website.
Alison Goldberg, BC ’12