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Students Seize the Day & Disney Legends Keep the Music Playing at
Education Through Music-LA’s 15th Year Celebration Benefit


Contact: Katie Boone
Phone: (818) 433-7600


Top Row – ETM-LA & Centennial High students & alumni perform “Seize the Day”; Bottom Row – L: Karen David, R: Michael Giacchino

Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, January 28, 2021Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) hosted its 15th Year Celebration Benefit live on Facebook. Families and supporters from the music, film, business, and education communities gathered virtually to honor Academy Award-Winning Composer/Songwriter Alan Menken (Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid), ETM-LA Board Chair Booker White / BTW Productions (Supervisor of Music Prep., Dir. of Music Library – Walt Disney Pictures & Television), and Music Educator Manuel Castañeda (Centennial High School, Compton).

Actress/Singer-Songwriter Karen David (Galavant, Once Upon a Time) and Academy Award-Winning Composer Michael Giacchino (Disney-Pixar’s UP, The Incredibles; Advisory Board, ETM-LA) emceed the virtual benefit. A magical Disney Sing-Along featured exclusive performances by renowned artists: “Go the Distance” and “Friend Like Me” by Alan Menken, “Part of Your World” by Disney Legend Jodi Benson (Voice of Ariel, The Little Mermaid), “Evermore” by Singer Anthony Evans (Beauty & The Beast, Billboard #1 Gospel Artist), and “Seize the Day” by ETM-LA & Centennial High students and alumni. David, who had just come from filming the TV show Fear the Walking Dead, confided that “Go the Distance” (her “anthem song”) was her audition piece for which she landed a role on Galavant (also composed by Menken).

Castañeda, who grew up in Compton and was himself a member of the Centennial High School Band, shared: “I think all children should have music education; tapping into the creative part of their brain really helps them expand their horizons.” Menken reflected, “We are all conduits to music… we don’t own it, it comes through us. And that ability to take it in and have it come through us is what music education is all about.”

Christopher & Shannon Madden Lennertz served as this year’s event Co-Chairs. Honorary hosts included champions and celebrities Christophe Beck, Karen David, John Debney, Michael Giacchino, Julianne Jordan, Kraft-Engel Management, Julia Michels, Rickey Minor, Blake Neely, and Randy Spendlove. Giacchino stated, “Science, math, history, music… they all work together like a wheel. Taking music out of a school is like taking a spoke off the wheel… strengthening that wheel means adding music back into schools.”

Education Through Music-Los Angeles’ mission is to provide music to under-resourced schools in order to enhance students’ academic achievement, creativity, and overall development. Throughout the pandemic, ETM-LA continues bringing weekly music class to tens of thousands of students across Los Angeles County using innovative, fun, and engaging distance learning.

Now in its 15th year, ETM-LA has expanded from 2 schools and 800 children to 46 schools and over 19,000 schoolchildren with weekly music as part of the core curriculum in such diverse communities as Bellflower, Boyle Heights, Burbank, Compton, Chinatown, Downtown & South LA, Inglewood, Pacoima, and the San Fernando Valley.

Major event sponsors include: BTW Productions, Michael Giacchino, Booker & Sarita White, Sonic Fuel Studios, Steve & Katia Jablonsky, Christopher & Shannon Lennertz, Lisa Norton & Harvey Motulsky, ASCAP, BMI, The Boomer Family Fund, Tim Davies, David Giuli & Melissa Orquiza, John Hoberg & Kathryn Likkel, and Joseph Trapanese.

View a replay of the event on Youtube here.

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Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information: