Kinecta Scholarship Recipient Records with the Black Eyed Peas!
Osric (Osi) Holt, a 14-year-old scholarship student at the Paramount Academy of Music in West Los Angeles, lived what most would agree was a dream, recently. Thanks to his place at Paramount, made possible by a donation from Kinecta to Ovation Music Fund, Osi found himself recording with the Black Eyed Peas.
Founding members Will.i.am and Printz Board wanted to update their 2003 hit Where is the Love with new lyrics to provide a message of hope and understanding during these sometimes divisive times. Along with guest artists Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, and Mary J. Blige, Will.i.am and Printz Board wanted to add a children’s choir to the end of the song.
That is where our scholarship recipient Osi comes in. “It was so cool,” he said of his experience. “First we went to the studio and did the recording, and then they brought us into another room and we shot the video.”
Osi’s mom, Bootsie Holt, added, “There were 30 kids in total. All ages and ethnicities. The kids had a great time and will be featured at the end of the song.” Kinecta is proud to support Ovation Music Fund and the over 130 schools it helps support. We are also proud of Osi for pursuing his dreams, working hard and possessing a level of maturity uncommon in a 14-year-old. His final thoughts reflect that perfectly, “It was great to get a chance to help out. It’s time for a message of Hope.”
Ovation Music Fund and kids like Osi give us that hope. To find out more about Ovation Music Fund, visit www.ovationmusicfund.org.
Music Alive!, a music education resource for music students throughout the USA, invited Ovation Music Fund co-founder Wendy Winks to share the Ovation Music Fund story with their readers. The 35 year old magazine is a sister publication to In Tune Monthly, which covered our Youth Songwriter Program with Carnegie Hall and Casterbridge Music Development Academy in South Africa, and the success of one of our scholarship students, Anthony Cullens – aka The Fallbrook Kid.
Music Alive! goes to some 400,000 middle to high schoolers across the country.
The publication has a regular article called Cool Careers, which features an interview with someone in a music-related field — typically something outside of performance that illustrates one of the many facets of the music industry.
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My name is Madison and I received aid from this foundation for many years. Words cannot express how thankful I am that I got to experience Rock School. Thank you all so much! I used my experiences at Rock School to write my college essay, which got me in to the University of Rochester (associated with the Eastman School of Music). My acceptance letter mentioned how they thought my growth at Rock School was something they believed I could continue to do in college. I wanted to share this essay, as it is a very accurate description of my experience with the School of Rock.
“As a young teenager, I had very little confidence in myself and was particularly struggling with my recent move to a new city and yet another new school. I had an extreme discomfort with new situations, and I feared asking others for help because I didn’t want to be ridiculed. I was kept awake every night with feelings of dread and regret. My anxiety even prevented me from communicating with my family, and I felt isolated. My mother and I could not bond, although she tried to connect with me. I was later diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which I had ignored for a long time.
However, my life went through a massive change when my mother discovered the School of Rock on her drive home from work and enrolled me in their performance program for the guitar. I had no experience with the guitar, though I had bought one for my birthday not knowing what I was going to do with it. My musical experience was limited to a few previous years of orchestra on the viola. I was anxious about my first rehearsal, but when I first walked in the doors, the staff welcomed me with open arms. The school felt so much like home, including a dog and a backroom kitchen! They genuinely seemed excited that I was about to join their community.
In my first show, I received three guitar songs to learn and perform at a concert after a few months of rehearsal, and although they were relatively simple, they proved to be the most difficult musical challenge I had ever been presented with. Even with my hours of devoted practice, the songs did not seem to get easier. I was so nervous about failing that I asked my director if I could give my songs to other people so I wouldn’t let the other people in my show down. However, he refused. Instead, he encouragingly told me that if I gave my best effort, I would be good enough. He taught me how to make the songs easier, and above all, he refused to let me give up. Furthermore, this instructor was able to convince me to sing for the show. I had never tried to sing before, much less performed anything in front of people, so this was a feat greater than anything I had ever done. I began to open up to the community, and I made so many new friends of all ages and backgrounds that have influenced me to be confident with myself. I was no longer afraid to ask people for help. More importantly, I was willing to accept that I could make mistakes in front of people and everything would still be okay because I could learn from the experience.
When I finally reached performance time, I wasn’t nervous about performing, in fact, I was excited to show the world what I had learned. I had built up a massive load of confidence alongside my peers at the School of Rock. I was finally overcoming my anxiety, which had taken a hold of my life. My family was bewildered when they saw me perform on stage. I recall them saying that they did not even recognize me when I was performing because I was not the timid girl they knew. This new confidence was transferred into my home and school life. I finally began to communicate with my family, and form bonds which I would never have had otherwise. I made friends of all types and learned to take in new ideas from them. In school, I became confident in my ability to take on rigorous challenges. I worked hard and began taking honors courses again, which eventually lead to taking as many AP and IB classes as I could.
I have continued to perform with the School of Rock since then, and I have grown exponentially as a musician and a performer. I have performed in many concerts and have learned to play seven instruments including being able to sing. I have auditioned into the School of Rock’s House Band, which allows me to tour all over Utah and help younger students gain the confidence I had gained upon first entering the school. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had at the School of Rock, and I know the confidence I have gained from their community will be a valuable treasure throughout my life.”
Thank you so much for all the opportunities this foundation has been able to help me experience! I hope that this foundation will forever be able to help provide kids with these life changing opportunities.
School of Rock 2011-2016
A Note From Madison’s Mom
I want to thank you for the opportunity that my daughter has been given to go to the School of Rock as it has changed her life. I feel this opportunity enabled her to attain a full ride scholarship to Rochester University in New York to attend college. Music school helped her learn discipline, commitment, how to achieve goals and get along with others. Prior to attending the School of Rock, she had gotten expelled from school in the 8th grade and felt hopeless about her future. Now she is an honor student, musician, and has a promising future. She will never forget this opportunity and is excited to give back after attaining her PhD.
Faced with all the awful news we’ve been hearing recently, Black Eyed Peas’ founding members Printz Board and will.i.am decided to see what they could do to bring about some healing. The Grammy-winning duo felt the time was right to rework the Peas’ 2003 hit “Where Is the Love?” featuring updated lyrics and a star-studded guest list that included Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Justin Timberlake.
Additionally, the pair wanted to feature a children’s choir on the new track, and enlisted Laura Jane Jones, founder of the Laura Jane International Vocal Studio, to put together a diverse children’s choir drawn from all over Southern California. One of Laura Jane’s first calls was to the Ovation Music Fund.
Among the assembled kids was Osi Holt, a scholarship student at the Paramount Academy of Music in West Los Angeles, one of the 130 schools Ovation Music Fund works with nationwide.
For 14-year-old Osi — short for Osric — it was a step into the world of professional recording. “It was so cool,” he said of his experience. “First we went to the studio and did the recording, and then they brought us into another room and we shot the video.”
Osi’s mom, Bootsie Holt, added, “There were 19 kids in total. All ages and ethnicities. The kids had a great time and will be featured at the end of the song.”
Osi, who has long been involved with musical theater, has only recently started formal voice training at the Paramount Academy of Music. “They have great instructors,” enthused Osi. “It’s very professional.”
The Ovation Music Fund helps to make Osi’s training possible. His mom Bootsie noted, “The Paramount Academy is very good. The instructors are all very high-level. It’s great that there’s an organization like Ovation Music Fund to help out these kids who may not be able to receive this kind of training otherwise. The excitement and enthusiasm of the kids who participated in the “Where Is the Love?” project was obvious.”
Osi, who hopes to continue in the direction of singing and performing, was reflective. “It was great to get a chance to help out. It’s time for a message of Hope.”
Osi’s scholarship was made possible by a donation from Kinecta Credit Union, one of the many businesses that support music education for children in local communities.
July 8, 2016 – Los Angeles, CA The Rock School Scholarship Fund (RSSF), a 501(c)(3) public charity devoted to helping low income children under the age of 18 receive scholarships to rock music schools across the USA has changed its name and expanded its mission. The new name, Ovation Music Fund (ovationmusicfund.org), reflects the charity’s new mission to embrace any musical genre – not just rock n’ roll. Children under 18 may apply for scholarships to any after school music program in the USA, and scholarships will be considered based on financial need. Music schools will continue to be screened by our staff prior to their enrolling in our program. The business owner or manager will be interviewed, their website will be reviewed, an online search will be conducted, and unless the school is part of an established franchise, they must have been in business for at least one year.
Scholarship applicants will need to submit proof of household income, as well as provide a letter from the parent describing their reasons for wanting their child to attend the after-school music program. An essay and/or video from the child is also required.
As the Rock School Scholarship Fund, the charity has helped hundreds of children. The goal in becoming Ovation Music Fund is to help thousands of children!
Spearheading the transition and growth are Board Chairman, Greg Wells, and Board President & Executive Director, Wendy Winks. Greg Wells is a multiple Grammy nominated record producer, songwriter, musician and mix engineer. His songs have appeared on more than 85 million albums. His credits include Keith Urban, Holychild, Katy Perry, Mayer Hawthorne, Greg Holden, Adele, Twenty One Pilots, Pharrell Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Theophilus London, Mika, Timbaland, OneRepublic, Deftones, Pink, Kid Cudi, Burt Bacharach, k.d. lang, Otep, Sir George Martin and the Count Basie Orchestra.
Wendy Winks, MBA, was a marketing executive at Universal Studios, and then a Literary Manager & TV/Film producer before founding the Rock School Scholarship Fund in 2010. One of her clients wrote “Camp Rock” for the Disney Channel, launching the careers of the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato. She produced “Santa Jr.” (Lauren Holly, Judd Nelson) for Hallmark, and DVD family favorite “Dog Gone” (French Stewart, Luke Benward). The RSSF was originally created to help rock school parents in Southern California who lost their jobs or homes during the crash of 2008, but it rapidly expanded by word of mouth, and now serves hundreds of families in need nationwide.
As RSSF, the charity has received significant support from forward-thinking artists and innovators. In January 2015 the RSSF was chosen by the Foo Fighters as one of three charities to receive donations from ticket sales for their surprise benefit concert – an all star birthday celebration for Dave Grohl – at the Los Angeles, Forum. And in December 2015, Bill Maris, Head of Google Ventures, donated two in-person meetings which auctioned for over $100,000 on CharityBuzz.com.
As Ovation Music Fund, our goal is to expand the reach of our music education programs via multiple initiatives. The first will be to enroll after-school music programs that teach any genre of music – not just rock n’ roll. As we grow and funding becomes available, we will begin to provide matching funding for community-funded scholarships, and first-dollar funding for nonprofits who need help setting up ongoing music programs. Eventually, we will expand our support to include camps and other one-time special programs.
For more information, please contact Info@ovationmusicfund.org or call 310-415-7978.