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Grant will bring music to Waugh

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Meadow School Principal Melissa Becker has long had a dream to see her 500 students rock out to Queen’s famous “Bohemian Rhapsody” while playing ukuleles, harmonicas, flutes and finger drums.

“Wouldn’t that just be so fantastic?” she enthused.

It’s a dream the entire Waugh School District will soon realize thanks to a $14,500 impact grant from the Petaluma Educational Foundation to buy instruments for its “Music Matters” program. Students in second through sixth grade will have “an opportunity to have a wide array of experiences playing musical instruments, thus promoting a lifelong appreciation of music,” said Robert Cmelak, principal of Corona Creek Elementary, the district’s other school.

Becker said that without the PEF grant, the school would not be able to offer music education.

“There is no longer any state funding for these programs,” she said. “A school without music is like a day without sunshine. How can you possibly teach a bunch of little kids without music?”

Maureen Highland, executive director of PEF, said the charity focuses on filling the gaps that the state can no longer fund. Last week, PEF brought the Traveling Lantern theater company to perform “A Christmas Carol” for more than 800 students at the Mystic Theater, which donated the venue. “These are opportunities (the students) wouldn’t otherwise have,” Highland said.

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