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PHCS student raises $1,138.11 for school music program

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PARISHVILLE - The Parishville-Hopkinton Central School music program is alive and well, due in large part to the dedication of one music-loving student.

Amanda Mason, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at PHCS, had her second Musicality fundraising event recently at the Parishville Firemen’s Hall and presented the music department with a check for $1,138.11.

Ms. Mason garnered about $1,600 for the music program with last year’s event.

“This year the concert went a little bit better and more people came, but I gathered a little more money last year,” she said. “It was the same thing (this year), but there wasn’t a car show this time because there was another one going on (in town.)”

Tough economic times have forced PHCS, as well as other schools, to cut back spending on non-mandated programs like music in recent years.

“It helps out the music program a lot. It has allowed us to do a lot of instrument repair that we can give to students. It has helped us with costs that this economy sometimes doesn’t allow us to afford,” music and vocal teacher Andrea Ellison said.

Last year’s event took place at Parishville Recreational Park and included a car show, food, prizes, music lessons and other amenities.

Ms. Mason is active in the school chorus and band, and noted her infatuation with country music.

“I listen to a lot of Martina McBride and I like Brad Paisley,” she said. “I play the baritone saxophone and I sing. ... (My brother) Brad, in high school played the baritone sax as well. I thought that was really cool. I tried out for the saxophone and I started playing and really enjoyed it. For music solo, I would try to beat his score and I haven’t yet. The last couple of years I’ve come within one point.”

Brad is now a college senior, and along with their parents, Al and Jo, many of Amanda’s family and friends assisted her in putting together the highly successful community concert.

“I did it mostly with my family and my neighbors, Rich and Laurena Will,” Ms. Mason said. “They helped a lot with advertisers, picking up the raffle items, etc. My dad did a lot of the setup and cleanup as well.

“I’m pretty sure we had a couple hundred people at the concert. ... I got quite a few donations from the local businesses around Hopkinton and Parishville, but I got quite a bit of money on the day of the concert as well. I got a lot of help from the community and the people that ran the stands on the day of the concert. They helped a lot, too,” she said.

Before the first Musicality concert, Ms. Mason was approached by her neighbor, Daisy Cox, about the idea of doing a fundraiser through the Kids Are Key program. Ms. Cox is involved with the Community Action Angels, the agency overseeing Kids Are Key.

Though the teenager did not work with the program to put together this year’s fundraiser, Mr. Will is involved with Community Action Angels.

A new addition to this year’s concert was the performance of music director Don Cannamela’s band.

“There were a lot of people involved with helping out. Don’s band played at the concert. ... A few students, including Amanda, got to perform with his group at the concert, so that was neat,” Ms. Ellison said. “We’re extremely proud of the work that she has done. We’re (also) very grateful for the work she and her family have done. She’s in two of my ensembles. She is a hard-working kid and she makes us very proud.”

Ms. Mason expressed optimism for the music program’s future, and hopes to be an instrumental part in the department’s future success.

“I’m hoping to continue to do it. I decided to do it again because I had a big success last year and it really helped with the music program. It made me feel better as a person and I wanted to continue to do that,” she said.

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