Dear Editor,After reading the article titled "Students Show Appreciation for Good Music" (Downey Patriot, 5/1/09), and seeing the darling pictures the children drew, I felt compelled to write you. I have had great pleasure over the last 15 years playing various music programs for the elementary school children of Downey. The program highlighted in the pages of your newspaper has provided musical instruction to these students through two 45-minute school assemblies performed in each of Downey's 13 public elementary schools and four of the parochial schools every year. In addition, two full orchestra concerts are performed in the Downey Theater each year, one for the entire third grade class and another for the entire fifth grade class of Downey Unified School District. I have been privileged to participate in this program. Year after year the children have always been a wonderful, enthusiastic audience and a joy to see. We've learned a lot from each other and had much fun together. Although perhaps many in Downey take it much for granted, I know this has been possible only because the teachers and school principals of the Downey school district do an outstanding job in creating the environment of respect and intellectual engagement so obvious in all the children we see. In my years coming to Downey this has been absolutely consistent throughout every school, and I would like to express my deep gratitude and admiration to them. I also want very much to acknowledge and thank the Downey Symphony "Music in the Schools" program for the tremendous support they have given us over the years. As they say in Hollywood, "None of this could have been possible without you!" However, the article did not mention a large portion of their funding, given by the Musician's Performance Fund, has dried up recently and will not be available next year. I pray something can be done to keep this wonderful program going. Every time we perform in Downey's schools I hear from teachers and students alike how very much they value and appreciate the lessons in music we bring them. - Mark Artusio Sherman Oaks Mark Artusio is principal bass with the Downey Symphony and is one of the five musicians from the orchestra who perform in the Music in the School program.
********** Published: May 15, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 4