Marvin Hamlisch, Gerard Schwarz To Lead Music4Life Youth Peace Program

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Composer Marvin Hamlisch and Gerard Schwarz, Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, have agreed to serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Music4Life Peace Initiative. The initiative is an annual Seattle-based program to foster international peace through youth music activities.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about Marvin and Jerry’s commitments to the program,” said David Endicott, who chairs the initiative’s advisory board. “Everyone understands that there is disharmony among cultures throughout the world. These are two prominent people who agree that something must – and can – be done about it.

The Music4Life Peace Initiative is a Rotary-inspired annual event that brings three or four young musicians from each of two traditionally antogonistic cultures to Seattle. The youngsters participate in a summer music camp program, learn that they can work together cooperatively through the inter-national language of music and then take those lessons home with them.

Others currently serving on the Music4Life Peace Initiative’s Advisory Board include Colleen Armstrong, retired Chief of staff of Seattle Opera; Narayan Baltzo, a life-affirming songwriter and musician; Admiral Bill Center, USN retired and a past president of the Seattle Downtown Rotary club; Endicott; Dr. Charles Evans, Captain US Public Health Service (retired) and a retired Seattle physician; Lisa Fox, an employment program manager and past president of University District Rotary; Yeva Ghazaryan, a music educator; and Spencer Lehmann, a retired long-term care insurance executive.

The Music4Life Peace Initiative is working with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra to place the student-musicians at SYSO’s summertime Marrowstone youth music camp. Marrowstone is comprised of an intensive two-week program for older musicians at Western Washington University, as well as a less intense half-day program for younger musicians located in Seattle.  “Our intention is to work with young musicians whose attitudes and prejudices are not yet fully ingrained in them,” Endicott added.

The initiative is one activity of Music4Life, a four-year-old program to acquire musical instruments for low income young musicians in public schools.  The program began working with Seattle Public Schools and has recently been expanded to serve young musicians in the Highline School System. Music4Life will receive the “Friend of Music” award by the Washington Music Educators Association next February at its biennial statewide conference in Yakima.

Although Music4Life is a Rotary-inspired program, Endicott is quick to point out that it is not necessary to be a member of a Rotary club to support it.

“All that is necessary is that a person understands the unique value that participation in instrumental music has in a young person’s total education.”

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