Piedmont Neighborhood News

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Archive for March 17th, 2011

Manhattan Piano Trio Performing in Piedmont

Posted by Len Gilbert on March 17, 2011


Proceeds From Concert Will Benefit Music Program in Piedmont Schools

The Manhattan Piano Trio, a brilliant young chamber music ensemble from New York, will perform a special benefit concert at Piedmont High School’s Alan Harvey Theater. A large portion of the proceeds will go towards CHIME, or Citizens Highly Interested in Music Education, a parents’ organization that helps fund music education in the Piedmont Unified School District.

Alan Harvey Theater is located at 800 Magnolia Avenue in Piedmont, CA. The concert will take place on Monday, April 18, at 7:30 PM. Tickets cost $22 for adults and $10 for students and $45 for reserved seats. They may be obtained on line at Eventbrite.com (Manhattan Piano Trio), or by calling 510-595-4015.

The Manhattan Piano Trio, whose members are violinist Wayne Lee (a Piedmont native), cellist Dmitry Kouzov, and pianist Milana Strezeva, has quickly become one of the most creative, exciting, and dynamic young ensembles in the United States. With more than 300 concerts in its first five seasons alone, the Trio is one of the most active groups in the classical music scene, welcomed by enthusiastic audiences in over 30 states, Australia and South Africa, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival.

This season, the Trio celebrated the release of its third album, a disc of Schumann and Chopin trios for the Marquis Classics label, in honor of the composers’ bicentennials.

The program at this Piedmont concert will consist of Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio, Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1, Arvo PŠrt’s Mozart-Adagio, and Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C major.

This concert will hold personal significance for Mr. Lee, 27, who grew up in Piedmont and will be giving his first performance here since graduating from Piedmont High School ten years ago.

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For more information about the performers, please visit their website at http://www.manhattanpianotrio.com. For more information about this concert, or to schedule an interview, please call Mary Ann Benson at 510-595-4015 or email her at wwmabenson@gmail.com.

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Coaches Field Lighting Support Appeal

Posted by Len Gilbert on March 17, 2011

Piedmont Baseball Softball Foundation (PBSF)  is asking for you to support the lights on Coaches Field. I am very involved with the program as a softball and baseball coach and a board member. In the context of Blair Park and the issues around the proposed development and opposition to that development, I feel that the project to add lights at Coaches has been overshadowed. Adding lights is a relatively easy, minimally impactful way to improve our very limited baseball and softball resources in Piedmont. The PBSF announcement about their campaign for support of the lights is below. Whatever your position on Blair Park, I ask that you consider the benefits for adding lights to Coaches Field.

PBSF - Your Hometown Baseball and Softball League

Attention Parents of Piedmont Baseball and Softball Players of All Ages

We Need Your Support Now for Lights at Coaches Field!

You’ve already heard about PBSF’s commitment to ensuring that the Blair Park Sports Fields project is approved by the City Council. We’re working with many other youth sports organizations and community leaders on this effort and we’re hopeful that Blair Park will become a reality in the near future. However, Blair Park is only part of the solution when it comes to addressing the shortage of usable field space for our local youth baseball and softball players.

We’re writing today to ask for your assistance in supporting the other half of the solution-field lighting at Coaches Field. This issue is on the agenda for the March 21, 2011 Piedmont City Council meeting along with Blair Park and it’s very important for baseball and softball supporters to make their voices heard both in advance of the meeting as well as during public testimony.

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Snow isn’t the only reason we’re not Wisconsin

Posted by Len Gilbert on March 17, 2011

With spring upon us here in Piedmont, chilly gray images of picketing demonstrators in front of the Wisconsin capitol look particularly bleak. Public unions, governments and taxpayers are warring over budget shortfalls and engaged in pitched battles. Not so here. While Piedmont’s education funding gap was not unique in this economic crisis, the capacity of our stakeholders to work together to find solutions is quite otherwise.

Last week heralded an event that sets Piedmont apart from many communities in the country: our teachers’ union negotiated a new contract that will likely lead the way for all our employee concessions to save a total of $2.2 million over two years. It even includes contingency language that allows for further cuts if the governor’s budget and tax measures fail this spring. This will significantly help to bear the burden of Piedmont’s school funding crisis. The teachers acted purposefully and unequivocally – with a vote of 128 to 16 for approval.

We are grateful to our teachers for their important role in helping close the budget gap. And please remember, these are not the salaries of bankers with their hands in the till that are being cut – these cuts will have an impact on their lives. Nonetheless, under the steady guidance of Superintendent Hubbard, negotiations were collaborative and constructive, and their outcome is evidence that teachers, parents and community are all playing for the same team.

With all this talk of finances and budgets, it’s easy to forget the whole reason we’ve gone through this exercise – the students, their learning and the miracle of teaching. For as important as the changes in the new contract are, they won’t change the experience of our children. No matter the details, the language, this clause or that – teaching remains a human endeavor that transcends the administrative details of a spreadsheet. Years from now when this contract is dusty, forgotten, stored in some digital file, that miracle will live on. And the experience of lab work in Mr. Greenebaum’s science room, debates in Ms. Goen’s history class, or bread making with Mr. Taylor will be permanently stored within our children.

So thank you, Piedmont teachers, for your collaboration, for working to balance our budget – but mostly for helping to preserve these experiences for our students. It’s not just our budding cherry blossoms that make us grateful to be in Piedmont.


Amal Smith, President, Piedmont Education Foundation
Mary Ireland, President, Associated Parents Clubs of Piedmont

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