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Friday, September 06, 2019

Clifton students have their own guardian Music Angels |

Schools starts Wednesday, but for fourth-grader Kyle Bardalez, his music career began a week earlier when he arrived with his mom, Maxine, and dad, Raul, to pick up his trumpet courtesy of the district's Music Angels by Matt Fagan, Reporter at North Jersey Record.

Teacher Shang Lee preparing string instruments for the upcoming school year.
Photo: courtesy of Clifton public schools
School officials say the Music Angels program provides an opportunity to learn an instrument to kids who otherwise might not be able to afford to rent or purchase an instrument.

"There have been times where parents have had tears in their eyes, stating how grateful their family has been for this opportunity," said Jason Leshowitz, district supervisor of visual and performing arts. "Students’ eyes just light up when they see their instruments for the first time."

The program was started 15 years ago by former visual and performing arts Supervisor Maryann Baskinger, who contacted Clifton alumni to ask them donate their old instruments...

Took full advantage One of the program's success stories is Clifton High School Concert Master Violinist Angel Guanga. One could argue it's a double success, because he's proficient in two instruments. 

Guanga began his career as a trombonist at School 13, and he still plays for the Concert Band and the Jazz Band. However, in eighth grade he found his true love: the violin. The district charged him the standard $25 annual fee to rent each of the instruments.

Leshowitz noted that Guanga took his violin and ran with it.