Summer Letter



Dear Friends,

Another year has passed, in writing this letter I want to share our 11 years and celebrate with you our history.  We look forward toward our future.

Our Beginning

Inspiring Notes gave birth on September 8, 2008.  Our charity is a “grass roots” community charity founded by (10) valley volunteers who shared a passion for our kids to have music in their lives at a tender young age.  All volunteers had experience working with children in Los Angeles Unified School District as principal, music teacher, Leader of school parent groups and community music nonprofits.  We “saw and felt” the sad state of music education in our public schools.  We got all “fired up” and stepped up to the plate to help “fill the gap” in music education, especially in elementary schools.

While it is well publicized that LA Phil’s YOLA music education targets the youth in the inner city and downtown, the San Fernando Youth were left out!!!  Well, here’s how Inspiring Notes responded!!!

Inspiring Notes created a three (3) year Music Enrichment Program for ALL students, staff and parents.  The program has (3) components:

1. A 3-year series of Chamber Concerts representing the instruments of the symphony orchestra performed by professional musicians.

2. An After-School Coaching and Mentoring Program with professional musicians who teach and support the school’s orchestra program.  NOTE:  This vital program has been put on hold since last year LAUSD started charging us rent for rooms needed to coach/mentor instrumental students at partner schools.  Since 2008 we mentored hundreds of students at (6) partner schools – Stagg St., Lorne, Dearborn, Cardenas Elementary and Sutter and Mulholland Middle Schools.  This program was a feature story on Channel 9 and 2.  Birmingham High School received backdoor mentoring on community site with the Big Band Alumni as they sat
underneath legendary jazz musicians.

3. Showcasing young musicians at events when they are ready to perform for an audience.  Hundreds of elementary musical students performed at our community concerts/musicals.  Other exposure – about 500 families and their children attended community concerts FREE and received further exposure to classical music.  About 600 students and their families attended Toyota Youth Concerts at Disney Hall with FREE tickets from San Fernando Valley Affiliates of LA Philharmonic.

So What?  What’s Happened After 11 Years?  OUR HISTORY:  NEARLY 30,000 youth have received our “FREE GIFT OF MUSIC!”  NOTE:  But thousands of kids are waiting!

Our 3 Year Elementary Schools Partners Include:

Stagg Street – Tricia Brandon, Principal Lorne – Dustin Merritt, Principal
Blythe – Randy Hagan, Principal Stanley Mosk – Barbara Friedrich, Principal
Dearborn – Kimberly Estrada, Principal Bassett – Linda Barr, Principal
Rosa Parks – Judith Schrear Carlos Santana – Leah Bass-Baylis
Cardenas – Ana Yslas Munoz Pacoima Charter – Sylvia Farjardos, Administrator
San Fernando – Maria Awakian, Principal Vaughn Charter – Suzanne Llamas, Admin.
Hazeltine – Seth Avery, Principal Sarah Coughlin – Leticia Sanchez, Principal
Napa – Brenda Fernandez, Principal Haskell – Connie Covert, Principal
Calahan – Michelle R.  Wells, Principal Parthenia – Philip Hollis, Principal
Canterbury – Clara Pena, Principal Saticoy, Maria Awakian, Principal
Vaughn Elementary Charter, Suzanne Ilamas

Secondary Schools:

Mulholland Middle School Sutter Middle School
Birmingham High School Van Nuys Performing Arts Magnet

Nearly 400 school orchestra students received:

Our FREE After School Coaching & Mentoring Classes-

(1) Stagg Elementary; (2) Lorne Elementary; (3) Dearborn Elementary; (4) Cardenas Elementary, (5) Hazeltine Elementary; (6) Sutter Middle School, (7) Mulholland Middle School and Birmingham High.

(2) NOTE:  This program was a feature story from Lorne Elementary on Channel 9 and CBS.

· Showcasing Young Musicians –  Nearly 425 young musicians have performed for audiences at Inspiring Notes fundraisers and other events.  Youth from Birmingham High, Van Nuys Performing Arts School, and Vaughn Charter High School as well as elementary students from our schools and community have performed
on their instruments.

Our program has been enriched by others who share our passion and belief that music is important:  For example:

– Carlo Ponti’s LA Virtuosi Orchestra gave 100% of the season’s net profit to (3) elementary partners: San Fernando, Pacoima Charter and Andres and Maria Cardenas Elementary.

– LA Phil Affiliates of San Fernando Valley gave 50 free tickets to the Toyota Youth Concerts at Disney Hall.  Over these 10 years, Nancy Schulenberg of LA Phil Affiliates has led her organization to help “fill the gap” in music education in the valley by giving our school partners 550 FREE Toyota Youth Concert tickets to what has been a “once in a lifetime experience for some of
our community families!

– First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills hosted two Inspiring Notes Community Concerts each year in January and March, the parents drove their kids to the concerts.  About 600 participated!  All expressed appreciation for this “FREE” gift of great music, and parents and youth participated in the Q&A time with the musicians.  Students take the microphone for questions at our school concerts, so feel right at home talking with the pros!!!  This year 10 young
violinists from Pacoima thrilled our audience!


You, our community, made the music happen!  We are a “grassroots” community organizations.  We have reached out to individuals, friends, neighbors, to organization, businesses, and elected officials.  YOU have responded with memberships, attending out fundraisers, donations of time, talent and money- levels of giving and significant grants.  And remember, YOU are an advocate for music education and our music program.  Keep telling the “Inspiring Notes Story”.  Use your VOICE to advocate for instrumental music to be put back in the LAUSD elementary schools.

LOOKING AHEAD:  OUR VISION and OUR FUTURE!  Our vision is to work with our community, promote growth and SUSTAINABILITY.

Together we can build a future that gives every child music exposure and experiences at a young age – elementary schools.  TOGETHER, as a community, we can do it!!!


You are invited to our 11th Annual Gala on Sunday, June 23, 2019.  It’s a Show and Dinner!  “An Exciting and Diverse Show” featuring Bonnie Bowden, vocalist, Charlie Ferguson, piano, Kirk Smith, bass, and Satoshi Kirisawa, drums.

See details of our celebration on Events Page.

Your gifts are tax deductible.

We want to share with all our supporters that this year, Inspiring Notes, Inc is being awarded 2019 Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) Community Award.

In closing, friends, “taking a leap in faith” and working together, it has been an amazing journey – planting and growing a music enrichment program for our youth and families to help fill a gap in our school’s curriculum.  YOU have made a difference!  I am excited about what we can do together in 2019-2020 and in the next decade.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

Marge Roten
Marge Roten, Founder/President