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Posted on Wed, Feb. 23, 2005
Teacher organizes benefit for music
By Shirley Dang
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
After teacher Paul Auday sounded the alarm for elementary music funding in West Contra Costa, the Bay Area's power folkies pledged a rock 'n' roll rescue.
On Saturday, singer Country Joe McDonald as well as members of Jefferson Starship and Grateful Dead offshoot Ratdog will take the stage in Mill Valley to benefit West Contra Costa school district music programs. Tie-dyed luminary Wavy Gravy, the "Voice of Woodstock," will emcee.
"Music is something that belongs in our schools and it's woefully underfunded," said Rat Dog guitarist Mark Karan"It's an opportunity for kids to be creative and discover their own passion, to do something and generate something."
Organizer Auday says he hopes the show will help raise the $350,000 necessary to keep the district's five full-time elementary music positions next school year. The school board is looking to pare down the 2005-06 budget by $8.3 million.
"This program is in jeopardy. Money needs to be raised," said Auday, who teaches fifth grade at Peres Elementary School in Richmond.
Though not a musician or singer himself, Auday loves music and believes in its benefits for children.
"A lot of kids look forward to it," Auday said.
A huge fan of jam bands such as the Dead, Auday has in the past called on his musical heroes to visit his classroom.
Over the years, Auday's students have been treated to visits from Wavy Gravy, Country Joe and guitarist and Deadhead radio show host David Gans.
Auday said he began thinking of the benefit last summer and later made it a New Year's resolution.
But as for the vision that brought the event to fruition, Auday pointed to the music he loves so much.
"To me, it's inspirational."
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