Friday, April 16, 2021

Coronado Valentine’s Songs Event a Success for CSF and Community

Photo: Rebecca Fratt

On February 13th, a wonderful collaboration of youth performers came together to perform special song requests and dedications from the community to family, friends, community heroes and loved ones.

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There were many special requests, like this one from the Coronado Unified School District: “To Joellen, Thanks for your tireless dedication to the students and staff in CUSD. Your optimism and positive energy are CONTAGIOUS! THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO! With Heartfelt Appreciation, Karl, Donnie, Megan, Niamh and Armando.”

This special collaboration benefitted the Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF), with youth able to perform live while providing a safe virtual webcast for the community to enjoy, and showcase what Coronado Schools Foundation has helped them foster. Coronado Schools Foundation is a community-driven fundraising organization that supplements state funding to provide the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Arts Pathways programs available to all students enrolled in the Coronado Unified School District. These programs begin in elementary school, exposing students to enrichment opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them. Funds raised by CSF pay for teachers and other educators whose positions the state of California does not fund or require, but our parents and educators consider necessary for a quality education.

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These youth experiences are very important and most especially now, due to the inability to perform live in front of audiences. Jennifer Moore, the Principal of Silver Strand Elementary opened up the safe live socially distanced virtual webcast event, expressing her appreciation of “Coronado Schools Foundation’s investment in our K-12 pathways programs. Saturday’s event showcasing local talent is a reminder that our students have the opportunity, starting in kindergarten, to connect with visual and performing arts as well as STEM and engineering/coding. We know that when our students have opportunities to grow their passions and skills in hands-on performance tasks and projects, they feel more connected to other content areas, themselves, their peers, and the school community, as well as begin to imagine their contributions to the world! Thank you, CSF, for your ongoing support of our students’ dreams and teachers’ visions!”

As performer Bella Frost stated after the event, “I was so grateful for a chance to give back to CSF, if it wasn’t for the fantastic arts education in the Coronado schools, starting in APA at CMS with Ms. Kullmann and now at CoSA with Dr. Barbara Wolf, Kim Strassburger and David McBean, I would surely be nowhere near where I am today as an artist. The opportunity to sing again with others was truly wonderful, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been able to make music with others in person.”

Linda Kullmann was absolutely wonderful helping with these live virtual holiday song events, recommending students, and expressing, “I love giving my students opportunities, to showcase their talents and to perform.”

The team who put this 2nd virtual socially distanced and safe live broadcast song event together for the community, Pilialoha Estall with City In Design, Rebecca Fratt with Coronado Presents, Tom Caitlin with TNTV, and Tricia Lynn Naval with TeeLynnMusic, are so honored to help provide additional outlets for local community youth to perform and showcase their talents during a time when their opportunities have been limited.

Local mom Jane Frost sent a special thank you to the Coronado Valentine Songs team for “giving our kids this opportunity to express their art. The Coronado schools have been a gift for my girls with programs such as APA at CMS and CoSA at CHS giving them an outlet both for creativity coupled with a wonderful academic education. My parents and family who have been separated because of COVID were able to tune in. My mom was literally crying, having missed out on so much with the grandchildren this past year not being able to be together.”

After the inspiration of Coronado Holiday Songs in December helping bring community cheer, the team easily came together again for this Valentine’s Day event to help bring heart and support for the community and youth. Marco Zannoni, with Buona Forchetta, and his amazing staff were quick to jump in and support this event, with a filming location and providing wonderful food and service to the performers and their families. Marco and his team are so giving to the community always welcoming everyone to their home, and they believe supporting education and youth is priority.

Amelia Nelson a vocalist, performed a few songs, and also gave us a special treat and performed a song with her sister Avery Nelson, a guitarist. Amelia was so grateful and said, “performing live for Coronado Schools Foundation was a cool experience and it was wonderful to be a part of, and to watch.” With her mother Julianne Mitchel reinforcing “the opportunity for Coronado’s youth to perform for the community was welcomed and needed during these challenging times, and a special thank you to everyone producing the program and giving back to the city, and supporting the arts.” The sisters have been so lucky to have each other to perform together at home during the pandemic with school and event closures. They have been able to practice new songs daily and together.

If you missed the live broadcast, it is available for students, their families, and the community to see the performances at The Coronado Holiday & Valentine Songs team are putting together another event soon to highlight youth performers, collaborating with each other in a special band performance to emulate what it looks like when student performers work together to uplift one another in a climate when their outlets are not as available.

Jeff Harrington said, “The event was a total win-win. It was a great opportunity for our budding musicians to perform, while at the same time raising money and awareness for a great cause.” His son Ethan Harrington and Tricia Lynn were able to practice together a few times before the event. Tricia is a vocalist, bassist, guitarist, pianist, and percussionist, so she loves practicing with youth performers helping them with various aspects of performing, especially for a live audience. She and Ethan both love the bass and ’80s music, so they had so much fun practicing together. Ethan voiced, “Playing with TeeLynn and the group was a great experience and I feel like I learned a lot. I was a little nervous at first, but then settled down and had a really great time. I hope the audience enjoyed the music and that we can do this every year.”

Tricia Lynn of TeeLynn Music reiterated, “Supporting youth on this journey is really important for their development in the arts and especially music. Especially in settings where they can understand what it’s like once they head into college and perform live professionally for audiences. These youth performers have been used to having so many more outlets, but this past year, those opportunities have been limited. So being able to continue providing as many creative places for them is important, as students are still having to transition from not having as many in person performances or practices together with their peers.” She also stated, “The jam session was so fun for the youth performers, and they learned what it is like to improv and use their talents in a more spur of the moment setting.” It was a very last minute add on, but the performers’ reaction afterwards inspired her and the team to create some additional settings, another event coming in late spring and with full-bands, per the students’ request.

Jake DeSisto said, “My favorite part was jamming with the other musicians: improvising and just going with it and adding your own spin, and would definitely love to do it again.”  His father Rob DeSisto enjoyed watching, “It was a really incredible experience for these young and talented musicians, as well as raising money for a great cause, the Coronado Schools Foundation.”

Pilialoha Estall mentioned that after the Crown Classic Golf Tournament, which was Jake DeSisto’s first time performing for an audience, and live, she was so touched by all the parents’ responses, (seeing their children practice more and their chords) that “is what inspired Coronado Holiday & Valentine Songs.” She is excited to announce that student bands, as inspired from the students doing the jam session, will be coming together as mentioned for another late spring event and for the 2021 Crown Classic Golf Tournament, date announcements coming soon.


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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.” Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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