Music program fundraiser held in Clark

Photo by Jen Rubino Parents help out at the Music Parents Association of Clark’s tricky tray. From left are, Barbara Sullivan, of Garwood; Eileen Calo, of Cranford; Jen Spireigo, of Cranford; Patty Shaughnessy, of Cranford; and in the bottom row, from left, are Sarah McCormack, of Cranford; and Nelly Diaz, of Cranford.
Photo by Jen Rubino
Parents help out at the Music Parents Association of Clark’s tricky tray. From left are, Barbara Sullivan, of Garwood; Eileen Calo, of Cranford; Jen Spireigo, of Cranford; Patty Shaughnessy, of Cranford; and in the bottom row, from left, are Sarah McCormack, of Cranford; and Nelly Diaz, of Cranford.

CLARK, NJ — When a school’s funds are cut short, the art and music programs are often the first to get cut. With this awareness, The Music Parents Association of Clark held a tricky tray to supplement the music program at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark. The event was held in the cafeteria on April 11.

“You never know what tomorrow might bring,” said Patty Shaughnessy, of Clark, and organizer of the event. “So far things have been slow, but we hope it picks up more once the kids get dropped off home from school.”

There were 193 prizes to be won at the event as supporters dropped their tickets into the corresponding bins of their choices. Most of them were gift cards to stores, restaurants and theaters, with the largest being a $200 Visa gift card or $50 worth of one- and two- dollar lottery tickets. There were also gift baskets filled with coffee and snacks. A woman with a handful of tickets continued to support the program even though her sons have already graduated high school.

“My sons were both involved in the music programs,” said Donna Mulvihill. “Rachel Bollaro, the music director, is amazing. The kids love her and she really inspires them to do their best. She’s great. We are so lucky to have her. My oldest son was in the first marching band, so I’ve seen it grow over the years. She runs a lot of great programs. It’s definitely going to support a good cause.

The other moms shared similar feelings on the subject. They truly supported the cause, and were very satisfied with the school’s music program. This was just one of the events they held to make sure it stays in existence and continues to excel. Many of the students have been involved in music programs since middle school, and they want to continue to become more proficient with their instruments and have an opportunity to play in the school’s bands.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the program grow and expand into the town,” said Gina Prussack. “I think it’s important. My son is a drummer in the marching and jazz bands. I want to see the program keep going. The band director is awesome.”

“My child is a very musically talented person,” said Nelly Diaz “He’s a drummer for the marching band, and he plays clarinet, bass clarinet and baritone sax.”

The winners were determined later that night and contacted by the next morning. Later that night the school also hosted an event called Band Bonanza, where students in the elementary, middle and high school bands performed for the participants in the lower gym. The concert took place from 7 to 8 p.m. Winners were announced in the cafeteria after the concert.

The MPA is a nonprofit organization formed to support the music programs of Clark. The Clark school district offers an outstanding music program to its students, led by a team of dedicated instructors who motivate the students and instill a passion for playing music. They remain committed to supporting the program and helping
it grow.

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