Jan 25, 2016
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Community advocate Cesar Zepeda has organized a fundraiser to purchase musical instruments for Richmond High’s woefully underfunded music program.

The Contra Costa Times was the first media outlet to report on the online fundraising effort, which started when Zepeda, president of the Hilltop District Neighborhood Council, assumed the role of “Principal for a Day” at Richmond High, his alma mater.

He discovered the school’s music class did not have enough instruments for their band.

“I asked the pincipal to provide me a list of instruments needed and I would create a call to have the community help Bring the Music Back,” Zepeda states in his online fundraising page.

The online fundraiser seeks to raise $45,000.

Zepeda wants to start raising funds for Richmond High but then expand the effort to other West Contra Costa schools. According to the Times, cuts to WCCUSD programs have left just $5,000 annually for the music budgets for all 35 schools.

Meanwhile, the interest in music at Richmond High is growing. At the start of this school year, Richmond High had just eight students playing in its newly formed marching band. Now, more than 80 are participating, band director Andrew Wilke said.

“Students have gone from knowing next to nothing about music to playing concerts in the span of 3 months,” Wilke said.

He added, “We have a chance to build a lasting program that produces not only high level musicians who are able to receive college music scholarships, but instills the valuable life skills of focus, passion, perception, and consideration that come with the study of music.”

Below is a list of the needs for Richmond High’s music program. To donate funds or used instruments, visit the online fundraising page here. You can also contact Zepeda directly at Cesar.Zepeda1@outlook.com.

Tuba x2
Flute x10
Clarinet x10
Oboe x2
Bassoon x2
Tenor Saxophone x4
Alto Saxophone x4
Trumpet x4


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.