ETMLA Gala

Education Through Music celebrates 15 years with a Disney singalong

Los Angeles-based charity Education Through Music – LA (ETMLA ) is celebrating 15 years of bringing music to under-resourced schools with a virtual red-carpet awards ceremony and an all-star Disney singalong.

The Shining Stars Awards ceremony takes place this evening, 28 January at 17.00 Pacific Standard time (02.00 GMT on the 29 January). Although the event is free to all comers, it is a fundraiser to support the charity, which has brought music to over 19,000 students across Los Angeles County, and adding more through online programmes during the pandemic.

The Shining Star Honorees have been selected as musicians whose contributions have positively impacted upon the world and this year they include the Oscar-winning songwriter, Alan Menken, famed for his music for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Little Mermaid’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Tangled’ and ‘Galavant’. With him, awards go to the Board Chairman of ETMLA, Booker White, who is also the Director of Disney’s music library.

The award for Shining Star Music Educator goes to Manuel Castaneda, the Music Educator and Director at Centennial High School in Compton, one of Los Angeles County’s lowest-income and highest murder-rate cities.

Centennial has a remarkable reputation for its music, which has produced such talents as Dr Dre, DJ Quik and Kendrick Lamar. Since his arrival, Castaneda has overseen a music programme that has helped 95 percent of its students go on to four-year college courses on full or partial scholarships.

Castaneda spends over 20 hours a week outside school time helping his students in the city where he was born. It was here that he learned trumpet under the tutelage of former Barry White collaborator John Roberts, and was inspired to teach music. It is his dedication that has singled him out for the ETMLA Shining Star Award.

The awards will be presented this evening followed by an online singalong of many of Disney’s greatest songs, including some that Alan Menken wrote. There will also be a silent auction including the option to bid for violin lessons from Robin Braun and Zoom meetings with Christophe Beck, composer of ‘Frozen’ and Geetika Lizardi, screenwriter of ‘Bridgerton’.


Registration for the free event can be found here.

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