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Girl Scout hosts benefit concert

Former Newhall School District student helps music program that helped her

Posted: December 3, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2009 7:00 a.m.

Elementary school was quite a while ago for Shaira Bhanji, 18, but the College of the Canyons student still cares about the Newhall School District music program that once nourished her own talent.

As part of a Girl Scouts of the USA Gold Awards project, Bhanji, a COC Symphony of the Canyons violinist, has set up a musical instrument and equipment donation drive culminating with a 3 p.m. benefit concert on Saturday, featuring the college's student orchestra.

All proceeds raised will be used to buy instruments and music equipment for students in the Newhall School District's Music Department.

"The Newhall School District music program is what made me fall in love with music," said Bhanji, who originally began playing the violin as a fourth-grader at Peachland Elementary School.

"If not for that program I may have never started to play the violin, and the many opportunities I've received since then would not have existed for me."

Community members interested in donating used instruments or musical equipment to the music program - including violins, clarinets, recorders, cellos, flutes, instrument cases, bows, shoulder rests, reeds, music books, rosin and music stands or more - can drop off donations the day of the concert or contact Bhanji.

The school district's music instructor, Tara Speiser, said the program staff is thrilled to be a part of Bhanji's service project at a time when "more and more families are finding the cost of an instrument to be prohibitive."

"I knew that I wanted to base my Gold Award project on music in Santa Clarita because music has had such a profound impact on my life," said Bhanji. "I wanted to be able to share that impact with other children in our community."


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