Hundreds of IUSD Students to Participate in Bren Honors Concert


orchestraHundreds of Irvine’s outstanding musicians will take center stage tonight for the 34th annual Donald Bren Honors Concert at 6:30 p.m. at the Segerstrom Concert Hall, located at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  There are a handful of tickets still available. For more information, visit ipsf.net.  The Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) will also have DVDs of the performance for purchase and the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) will broadcast the concert, in its entirety, on Cox Channel 39 in early May.

This annual event is presented by IPSF, in partnership with IUSD.  In all, approximately 600 top vocalists and instrumentalists in grades five through 12 will participate in the musical showcase.

“Our students’ exceptional talent will be showcased in this world-class venue, including a special pre-concert at 6:15 p.m. that will feature the Northwood High School Jazz Ensemble I,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD’s coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts. “In addition, our high school students will be under the direction of Jonathan Talberg, the choral director of the Bob Cole Conservatory at CSU Long Beach, and Iman Khosrowpour, a IUSD alum and director of orchestras at Irvine Valley College.”

The concert is named in recognition of the generosity of philanthropist Donald Bren. Under his leadership, the Donald Bren Foundation and the Irvine Company have provided more than $200 million to support education, including a $20 million gift to preserve art, music and science programs in IUSD.

In addition to serving as an incredible performance opportunity for students, the Donald Bren Honors Concert also generates funds to support music education.  “The Donald Bren Honors Concert represents an outstanding effort by donors, parents, music instructors, students and members of the community to provide, preserve and expand outstanding music programs for kids in our schools,” said IPSF Chief Executive Officer Neda Eaton .


IUSD Students to Showcase Films at “Only in Irvine” Screening Party


IUSD students will screen their short films based on the theme, “Only in Irvine” on Wednesday, April 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Great Wheel Court in the Irvine Spectrum.  This free public event is hosted by the Irvine Company as part of their campaign to highlight students’ and residents’ unique Irvine experiences.

Students from all five Irvine High Schools will present their three-minute films focused on what they love about Irvine.  Food will be available for purchase, including discounted sandwiches and beverages from the Corner Bakery.

For more information about the “Only in Irvine” campaign and to share your Irvine story, visit onlyinirvine.com/.


IUSD Named a 2016 Best Community for Music Education


NAMM 2016For the fourth consecutive year, IUSD has been named one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.  IUSD joins 476 school districts across the country in receiving this prestigious award.

“This recognition is further evidence of the District’s commitment to the arts,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD Fine Arts Coordinator.  “Through the Board of Education’s visionary leadership, fine arts have flourished in IUSD schools despite inadequate state funding.”  He went on to recognize and thank the Irvine Company and the  Irvine Public Schools Foundation for their generous support of the District’s visual and performing arts programming, which benefits thousands of students.

Now in its 17th year, the Best Communities program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and overall access to music instruction. The basis for the award is the annual NAMM Foundation survey that asks districts specifically about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and opportunities to make music in the community.

Responses were later verified with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

In a prepared statement, the NAMM Foundation said, “This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs.  Having widely embraced the evidence indicating that music education yields great things in schools and communities, people are increasingly…advocating for school music curricula and championing programs like Best Communities that recognize this commitment to music education.”


University High Orchestra Takes First Place at National Competition


University High School’s symphony orchestra recently placed first nationally at a competition held in Tampa, FL.  The group was already in some pretty elite company.  Uni Orchestra

Uni’s Orchestra Director Grace Lee, said just ten of the top programs from around the country were invited to the National Orchestra Festival, which was organized by the American Strings Teachers Association and held March 3rd through March 6th.

“It was a wonderful experience, and the kids really enjoyed every minute of it,” Lee said. “From listening to top orchestra groups across the nation, to receiving valuable post-performance feedback from world renowned clinicians, to jamming out on electric string instruments, to learning how to play gypsy jazz, it was all an unforgettable experience the kids will remember for a lifetime.”

Three years ago, Uni’s symphony orchestra placed second in the nation.  This year, they returned to the competition with a renewed focus.

According to its website, the National Orchestra Festival invites youth, middle school and high school orchestras, which are selected to participate based on their applications and supporting materials. Groups can compete or receive evaluations for their performances, which are followed by educational clinics.

 


Woodbridge High School Named Top GRAMMY School in the Nation


grammyWoodbridge High School has been named the 2016 National Grammy Signature School for its outstanding music program.  This designation is one of the most prestigious accolades in music education.  Since the inception of the GRAMMY Foundation in 1988, IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools have received 12 Gold and Signature Grammy awards but this is the first-ever top honor for an IUSD school.

In 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation presented Signature School awards to just 13 schools across the nation.  The top three schools were designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients, Woodbridge High School, was named the National GRAMMY Signature School.  Woodbridge will also receive a $5,000 prize.

“This national honor is a tribute to our extraordinary music program, including our dedicated music instructors and students,” said Woodbridge Principal Chris Krebs.  “Winning this award is akin to winning a national championship in athletics.”  Krebs went on to praise the music instructors for their professional and personal investments in the program and its students.

In late 2015, the GRAMMY Foundation announced that all four of IUSD’s comprehensive high schools were named 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalists – a historical first – making IUSD the only district in the nation with four schools with this designation.  Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools were among 119 schools nationwide selected as semifinalists.

“This is a very important and prestigious honor for our students, staff and community,” said Brad Van Patten, Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts.  “It is a testament to the entire K-12 program that allows for a quality music education with access and equity for every child in IUSD to help develop their individual talents in a collaborative ensemble that will be a part of their college and career skillset.”

Applications for the honor were submitted in the fall. Semifinalists were asked to submit additional documentation, including concert recordings. Those materials were reviewed by an independent committee of top music educators and professionals, who decided which schools merited the designation.

The Grammy Foundation promotes the impact of recorded music on American culture and recognizes schools that provide exceptional music opportunities for students. Each year, more than 20,000 public high schools have an opportunity to apply to become Grammy Signature Schools, but only a small number earn the honor.


Culverdale Students to Perform Original Play at UCI


Culverdale 3rd-6th grade students will perform Our Stories, an original theatrical performance at UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts in Studio 5 on Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, November 21 at 1 p.m. This free performance features original work and performances by students. Culverdale Our Stories

Through storytelling, improvisation, puppetry, creative writing and dance, Culverdale students answered questions like, “What makes me special?” and “What is home?”  This process provided students the opportunity to express themselves and to find their own voice.

The public is invited to join Culverdale students, the UCI Drama Department and UCI Illuminations for an informal performance of Our Stories.


All Four IUSD High Schools Named 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalists


The GRAMMY Foundation announced, Friday, November 13 that the Irvine Unified School District’s four comprehensive high schools have been named 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalists, making IUSD the district with the most schools to receive this prestigious national designation.  Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools are among 119 schools nationwide selected as semifinalists and will move forward in this process, which culminates in March 2016 with the announcement of the finalist schools. Ben Case 2

“This is a very important and prestigious honor for our students, staff and community,” said Brad Van Patten, Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts.  “It is a testament to the entire K-12 program that allows for a quality music education with access and equity for every child in IUSD to help develop their individual talents in a collaborative ensemble that will be a part of their college and career skillset.”

IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools have won 11 GRAMMY awards, with half of those going to Northwood High School.  Earlier this year, Northwood High School music teacher Ben Case was selected as a semifinalist for the Music Educator Award, also presented by the GRAMMY Foundation.

Established in 1988, the GRAMMY Foundation promotes the impact of recorded music on American culture and recognizes schools that provide exceptional music opportunities for students. Each year, more than 20,000 public high schools have an opportunity to apply to become GRAMMY Signature Schools, but only a small number earn the honor.

In March 2016, an independent committee of top music educators and professionals, will decide which schools merit the finalist designation.  Selected schools will receive grant money ranging between $1,000 and $6,000 to benefit their music program.


IUSD’s Marching Bands to Perform Together for ‘Band Spectacular’


After taking the field for separate performances, marching bands from IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools will join forces for a big finale during “Band Spectacular” tonight.  More than 1,200 students, including middle school musicians, will participate in this exciting mega concert.  Band Spectacular

This fun family event will be held at the Irvine High School Stadium at 7 p.m. tonight, October 21.  Parking is free; admission is $5 for individuals and $10 for families.  Proceeds will support instrumental music throughout the District.

For more information on IUSD’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, click here.

 


Northwood’s Ben Case Named a Grammy Music Educator Semifinalist


Congratulations to Ben Case, music teacher at Northwood High School, for his designation as semifinalist for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.  Ben is one of 25 semifinalists selected from 4,500 nominations from all U.S. states.  His nomination and the gold award presented to Northwood High School as a Grammy Signature School last May represent Northwood’s outstanding music program and Ben’s skill and dedication as a teacher. Ben Case and Students

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (K through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.  A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, this special award will be presented at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception.

In December, one recipient will be selected from 10 finalists, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be in Los Angeles during GRAMMY week to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Click here to read CBS’ coverage of this prestigious honor.


Six Irvine Students to Join All-National Honor Ensembles


Six Irvine Unified School District students have been selected as members of the prestigious National Association for Music Education’s 2015 All-National Honor Ensembles.  Performance categories include Honor Band, Mixed Choir, Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Band.  Irvine will send six of the 30 California students to participate in this year’s concert.National Ensembles

Eliott Chung, University High School and Eric Li, Northwood High School will perform in the All-National Honor Concert Band.  Elysia Ouyang and Mina Rhee from University High School and Michael Suh and Andrew Yang from Northwood High School will perform in the All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra.

The concert is October 28, 2015 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee and is part of the National In-Service Conference.  This is an exciting opportunity for our talented musicians to work with other young musicians and prestigious conductors from across the nation.

For more information, visit http://www.nafme.org/programs/all-national-honor-ensembles/ and click on the video at the top of the webpage.

Congratulations to our Irvine students and best wishes as they prepare for this exciting concert!