While lawmakers and administrators appear to be cutting school music and arts budgets even more this year in California, San Francisco school teacher Marisa Martinez is helping kids learn while providing a big dose of musical inspiration with her newly-released compact disc, “ABC And Chickens”. A San Francisco album release party and benefit concert, Twang for Tots, will celebrate the new record.
“Twang for Tots” is a benefit concert to support music in the schools through the production and sale of an educational CD for children created by Martinez, a kindergarten teacher and longtime San Francisco musical performer. After completing her master’s thesis on the crucial interaction between music and art in a young student’s educational development, Martinez realized that ongoing cuts in music classes both in her San Francisco Unified School District and hundreds of schools across the country were robbing students of that important component of schooling. Aimed at the pre-K to 2nd grade set, the 18 songs on “ABC And Chickens” help kids learn counting, naming the days of the week, spelling, social skills and other important lessons.
Working with San Francisco producer Phil “Philbillie” Milner, Martinez gathered a few friends who happen to be some of the most noteworthy players in San Francisco, all former or current band mates – guitarist Eric McFadden (George Clinton, Eric Burdon), drummer Paulo Baldi (Les Claypool, Cake), cellist Sam Bass (Les Claypool), bassist/tubist Ed Ivey (Faraway Brothers, Brass Monkey Brass Band) and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Kerr. Martinez composed most of the songs and sang or played on every cut. The recording sessions were great fun for the musicians and more than a few admitted they learned something new just being involved.
The Twang For Tots concert features Eric McFadden, The Jenny Kerr Band and J.L. Stiles and proceeds from the concert will help defray production costs, and proceeds from CD sales will help provide materials for ongoing music classes which have been cut due to the current budget crisis in California, a cutback that has hit SFUSD especially hard. Martinez’s school in the city serves students from the highest-poverty areas in the city, and her commitment to making the difference for kids who will truly benefit from her passion has become well-known to school parents struggling to keep their youth moving forward as the district continues to cut programs.
What: Twang For Tots Celebrates “ABC And Chickens” Children’s Album Release
Where: Restoration Workshop, 630 Treat Ave Suite C, San Francisco CA 94110
When: Friday June 4, 2010 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Cost: suggested donation $10 – $20, sliding scale