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Foshay Learning Center receives gift of music

Instruments donated by StubHub

Merdies Hayes Editor | 5/9/2019, midnight

Students at James A. Foshay Learning Center in South Los Angeles recently received a surprise gift of $102,000 in musical equipment donated by StubHub and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

It was the largest gift to date from StubHub, which has committed to give away a minimum of $3 million in musical equipment in the next three years. Many schools in South Los Angeles, as with many campuses in inner-city regions throughout the nation, have witnessed a marked decline in music and fine arts instruction over the past few decades.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation keeps music alive in secondary schools by donating instruments to under-funded music programs. Film fans may remember the popular 1996 motion picture of the same name starring Richard Dreyfuss.

“Seeing the looks on the kid’s faces when we lift the curtain is worth the price of admission,” said Jay Harren a representative from StubHub.

Vince Womack, director of the jazz ensemble at Foshay Learning Center, said the gift will go a long way in encouraging more students to pick up an instrument—and stick with it—and learn to play.

“I’m very proud of them, because I tell them all the time ‘if you keep working hard, you never know what might happen,’” Womack said. “Music education gives kids the ability to overcome obstacles.”

Many students in South Los Angeles interested in learning to play music often struggle to afford an instrument. Womack said the gift will empower more young people to join the school band.

“When you guys opened the curtains, I was ecstatic,” said Lidia Saunders, a trumpeter with the school jazz ensemble. “It was really cool to see.”

Foshay Learning Center is among the upward trending high-achieving schools in South Los Angeles. In 2016, the school was the most recognized campus for incoming freshmen at the University of Southern California, located less than one mile from campus. That year, 19 of USC freshmen came from Foshay—surpassing the first-year enrollments from all prestigious parochial and private schools in the Los Angeles area.