'Glee' helps fill a need

Hannah Silver was in her music class at Marine View Middle School this month when an email arrived.

Then the mood turned, well, gleeful.

The Huntington Beach campus was selected as one of 73 winners nationwide in the "Glee Give a Note Contest," which distributed a total of $1 million to at-risk music programs. Marine View won $10,000, which it intends to use to help fund a sound system for its spring productions.

"We all found out and we were all screaming," said Hannah, 13, a seventh-grader. "Then we told our principal and she made an announcement to the whole school."

The contest, sponsored by the National Assn. for Music Education, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and the television show "Glee," invited schools to make two-minute YouTube videos that showed their needs in a musical and creative way. Eighth-grader Josh Behrems filmed a video, based on the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'," of the students showing rain damage in the multipurpose room and explaining the need for funds to keep Marine View's music program going.

At one point, Marine View's video led all middle-school submissions nationwide in online votes, and the submission ultimately finished in the top 10. However, online votes were only part of the criteria — the judges also considered creativity, relevance to music education and the school's financial need, according to Jane Balek, assistant executive director for the National Assn. for Music Education.

"Their video had great emotional and inspirational appeal — really highlighted by the fact that the students made the video and featured the principal and the music teacher," Balek wrote in an email. "It also did a great job telling the story of their financial need — showing the conditions of the school and also noting that the recent budget cuts impacted the music program."

Marine View Principal Roni Ellis said the school has rented sound and lighting equipment for more than a decade for its Spring Fling, a song-and-dance extravaganza held in May. The music department has spent the last three years raising money to buy its own equipment, and the $10,000 from the "Glee" contest will nearly foot the rest of the cost.

After proceeds come in from a fundraiser last November, the school should be ready to make the purchase, Ellis said.

"I couldn't have been more excited for the kids and for the teachers who were in the whole music program," she said.


Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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