For one spectacular autumn afternoon, Twin Pines Park will be transformed this Sunday into the ultimate jam session--with four stages, 25 musical groups and 1,000 performers who will have the crowd swinging, rocking, jazzing, blues-ing, singing and dancing until the final note is played.
Save the Music (SMT), Belmont's unparalleled community and kids' festival, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Sunday, and as organizer Alan Sarver puts it, "Stuff will be going on in every corner of the park every minute of the day."
The Festival will be held Sunday, Oct. 14 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in Twin Pines Park and along Sixth Ave. near Belmont City Hall.
The need is greater than ever
STM is the primary event of the year for the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District's education foundation. Sarver says its an opportunity for School-Force to bring the gift of music to the community.
The charge of STM is tri-fold: to bring an annual event to the Belmont community that celebrates the arts in the city's schools; to highlight the financial needs of the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District; and to thank the business community for their support of the schools throughout the year.
Now in its 10th year, Sarver says the needs of the schools is greater than ever.
"The funding for our schools in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District is steadily declining, whole enrollment is steadily increasing," said Sarver.
"Families with school-aged children are flocking to the area because of our great schools, yet everyone in the school community is worried about coming up short financially."
Sarver explained that all proceeds from the festival go directly to School-Force, which, as the fundraising engine for the school district, works with the district to help meet its financial needs. A philanthropy booth staffed by School-Force volunteers and PTA members will help spread the word about what the organizations are doing to help the district's seven schools.
Corporate sponsors pave the way for the festival
Corporate sponsorship is an important part of the event's fundraising, and in return for their generous donations, three of the top sponsors have performing stages named for them. The main stage is sponsored by Oracle and for the 10th anniversary, it's been deemed the Oracle Tribute Stage and will feature three "tribute" bands that play the music of one particular artist or band.
"That's what makes this festival so unique," said Sarver. "It's not just a festival with a couple of stages with the same old music---we have four stages that are packed with music that has been carefully planned and carefully crafted."
Sarver emphasized the foundation's appreciation for Oracle's support.
"Between sponsorship for STM, a variety of grants to School-Force and BRSSD, and matching funds for employee donations, Oracle has consistently provided $100K per year to the district. In addition, their support of Carlmont High School and the Sequoia Union High School District has been growing--they are a great community partner."
Other corporate sponsors include Hometown Realty. "Janet Pepe Davis has been very generous over the past 10 years," said Sarver. A stage that will feature local bands in front of City Hall has been named Hometown Realty Sixth Avenue Stage in recognition of Pepe's support. Local bands Stealing Third and The Jack Aces will perform on the Hometown Realty Stage.
The Wells Fargo Community Stage in the Meadow acknowledges the bank's 10 years of sponsorship. "Wells Fargo has been a major supporter of STM, Carlmont High School and the Sequoia High School Union District," said Sarver. The Wells Fargo Stage will feature groups from Ralston and Carlmont High School, the Firebird Chinese Orchestra and chamber strings from the Peninsula Youth Orchestra.
"And the great ongoing support of the Redwood Shores Community Association (RSCA), has been so important to the festival," said Sarver. He noted that Redwood Shores has come to represent half of the dramatically growing student population in the school district.
"The RSCA Children's Stage begins and ends with performers from our elementary schools. And this year we have two big additions---performers from New Ground Dance Theatre and fifth and sixth graders performing solo and small ensemble pieces."
Sarver says there will be a list of all of the festival's sponsors located at each stage. "We encourage everyone to support the businesses who support our kids."
And some of the music will be mobile
All of the above staged music will be supplemented by roving musicians from the Carlmont Drum Line, who will march through the park and put on a percussion clinic for kids at the RSCA Children's Stage at 1:00 p.m. The percussion clinic will also be supported by drummers from local bands.
And of course, one of the festival's highlights will be a “battle of the bands” between the UC Davis and Stanford marching bands. The marching bands will rove through the park and will wrap up the festival with a “battle” in the Meadow.
In addition to its major sponsors, local restaurants, businesses, non-profit organizations and school groups will participate in the STM Festival.
This year, the festival will have three kids activities areas, including the popular "Musical Instrument Petting Zoo."
Suggested donation for entrance to the Festival is $10/adult and $5/child. SMT Activity Tickets will be available at ticket booths for $1/ticket and can be used at various children's activities throughout the park.
For a complete schedule and list of participants, go to http://schoolforce.org/save-the-music/