Why Music Matters

It was just a concept that came to life…

Last year, we had our first auditions for Calaveras Has Talent on April 24-25.  We held auditions at two venues over two days.  We had a total of 5 people audition in Valley Springs and no one at the other!  At first it was a bit discouraging for us.  We thought we had enough publicity and enough posters out that people would just simply come and audition.  For what though?   It was a show!  We had no idea how it flow exactly.  What was the quarter final?  What did our talent get?  What was the purpose (outside of fundraising for music education?

It was just a concept that came to life…

Music, dance, comedy, and what we learned last year, yo yo, is what people do for fun.  To let off steam.  Performance art for their friends and family.  Or their band that gets together in a garage and writes music.  It means something to them.  Music is life.  Mostly, music matters and it matters to our citizens of Calaveras County.

While we were discouraged last year, we pressed on.  I still recall last year when Linda Owens had hijacked kids out of Common Grounds Coffee to run home and get their guitars and come back and play for our judges.  AND THEY DID!

We had a lot more auditions that second venue.  And from there it sort of grew to the 72 acts and 90 people that came through the quarter finals last year.   I still recall the Northern California Brothers walking in and surprising everyone with their talent.  I still remember the metal vocal from Josh Weber and he showed up in costume to boot at the quarter final.  I remember Max Girard stalling for 5 minutes to build the courage to audition.  And we were blown away!

We put on a heck of a show!  And we are doing it again.  This August we will host quarter finals at both Bret Harte Theater and the new Calaveras Pereforming Arts Center in San Andreas.

All proceeds from donations and ticket sales benefit our music programs for education in Calaveras, Vallecito, Bret Harte and Mark Twain School Districts.

Thank you all for your participation last year and in advance this year!

PS -You can donate here!  Donations may be tax deductible!

Natalie’s Music Matters

Music matters to me because it gives you a chance to express yourself and show who you are or to show other people what you like if I come I’ll sing “speak life.” – Natalie Collins

Danny’s Story

I have been playing guitar for almost 20 years now and I am a proud graduate of class 2004 and I can still remember why I wanted to play guitar more than anything. I was watching TV one night and VH1 had a concert series going on. It was Santana and friends, I was glued, I could not take my eyes off of the TV. As the concert went on, he brought out Dave Mathews and played a song called “Love Of My Life” and I was hooked. I yelled to my Father and asked if he could teach me how to play guitar and the rest was history. I became a very big fan of Classic Rock, which I still love over any genera of music and a big fan of the fast heavy solo’s of The Eagles and Led Zeppelin. Over time The Eagles have become my favorite band of all time,

I also played Trumpet from 3rd grade- 8th grade. I stayed pretty much behind closed doors when it came to performing or letting anyone know I played an instrument unless I had a performance to attend to. I had the pleasure of having Mr. Crawford teach me from 3rd grade to 6th and then had the pleasure of Mr. Trilio from 7th to 8th. When I got into High School I did not sign up for any music class until my Sophomore Year. That is where I met Mr. Hjelmervik and my life changed. He taught me the theory of music and helped me get over my fears of performing in front of a large crowd. During this time I remember he took 5 advance guitar players and put them in a group. We were able to write music and jam and have an awesome time during school. Then one day Mr, H approached us and said ” I need you guys to help the class write a song that they can perform” I thought this was a great Idea, I get to help kids who are just learning or who need some confidence write a song they can perform for their peers and family. When all said and done, Mr. H then asked the 5 of us to write a song that he could record and make a video for to show other kids. Boy was I nervous, I remember sitting in front of that camera about ready to pass out thinking I couldn’t do it, but much to my surprise I did it and I was amazed. I remember when the video editing class had to edit the video for us, I had about 20 people come up and as me how long I have been playing and man was that a great feeling. To hear people tell me how good I was and that they never would’ve thought I play guitar was music to my ears.

After my Junior year, Mr. H announced that he was going to retire, this devastated me. My mentor who has taught me everything was leaving. But I knew he had a trick up his sleeve, no more than 2 days later, he introduced his son to the class that was going to take over his position and much to my surprise we all hit it off. Mr. Hjelmervik’s son taught me more than I could ever know. He brought a new style into the class room, and helped everyone become more confident. I wouldn’t be half the musician I am without them.

There is something that is over looked when it comes to music. I was a troubled kid growing up, never did good in school. But music kept me off the streets and help me grow into a better man that I was. To sit there and play a song and have everyone start singing with you and coming up to shake your hand to tell you how good you were, well I don’t think there is a better feeling than that. Calaveras needs to recognize that music teaches all humans to love one another for who they are, not who they hang out with or what they wear or what they drive or where they come from. You can take 2 strangers, put them side by side and they will tell you they have nothing in common with each other. BUT, put on some music and I guarantee that they will have something in common after that. It brings everyone closer, I mean look at the rallies we did, when ” We are the Champions” came on, we all sung that, when the football players would walk out to Back in Black, we all sat in the crowd and sang it. Music brings everyone that much closer. It teaches you to open your mind and helps your brain work faster and react better to certain situations.

Both Mr. Hjelmervik’s changed my life for the better and the respect I have for them in un repayable but keeping this music program alive and well would mean the world to them and me. This Calaveras Has Talent is awesome. Its giving musicians a chance to be heard, in fact I may try out for it to show my support. Saving the music program will not only keep tradition alive but also help kids learn to help one another and bring everybody that much closer.

i still play guitar to this day and finally have bought my dream guitar. I write music for people and now have a band that I jam with for fun. I will always be a musician because of MUSIC. Save this great program!!!!!!!!!!

Thoughts on why Music Matters

Music is an outlet for poetry. I have always written and I feel like it comes naturally.  music is a way for me to insert feeling or soul into poetry.  music can be love or it can be hate. it can be powerful, or purposefully un-powerful for comfort or even infatuation  music, set me free!. – Kyle

Calaveras Youth Organization Launches Calaveras Has Talent

When we found out in February that CUSD had removed music education off of the cut list.  While this was a “victory” to know our kids will be able to continue with music, we simply just couldn’t stop or claim this was an end.  We were far from our goal as an organization to help build a sustainable program and since music has been an important part of all of our organization and supporter’s lives, it was time to enter the next phase.

Music  has an important history in Calaveras County.  It is a county wide hobby for a lot of residents.  It is a county wide activity with concerts at Ironstone Vineyards or at the Calaveras Fair and Jumping Frog Jubliee.  From garage bands in Rancho Calaveras to coffee shop players in Murphys, Arnold and Mountain Ranch, choirs in our local churches and to students at CUSD, Bret Harte and Vallecito Districts, or simply in the comfort of our own homes and cars with our iDevices, we as residents always have had music as an important part of our lives in some way shape or form.

That is why we have made the transition to start the Support Music Calaveras Campaign.  This is a county wide campaign to support music for every resident in Calaveras County.   We will be here first to support music education county wide.  We will be here to support music performances.  We will be here to bring music to everyone with community support because #musicmatters


Our First Event is the Calaveras Has Talent Show.  This is a family oriented and fun event is open to every resident in Calaveras County.  Come audition.  Sing your heart out, Dance your legs off, show us some magic tricks, strum your guitar or show us what ever talent makes you unique with a goal:  Just have fun!

Calaveras Youth Organization will be seeking local and community fundraising support for our events.  Tickets will be sold at the Quarter, Semi and Final Events for those that want to attend the shows.  All funds will be used for the Support Music Calaveras Campaign.

We will have 2 Quarter Final Events (Aug 8 at the SA Town Hall, and Aug 15 at the Fairgrounds)

The Semi Final Event will August 29 at the Fair Grounds.

The Final will be October 10th, 2015 at the Fairgrounds.

Audition to advance and gain entry to the quarter final will be held at the following dates and times:

Calaveras Has Talent

(Note:  “Electric and Amplified band auditions will not be available at the Valley Springs or Avery Middle School locations)

Application for the tryouts can be found here.

Please note:  There will be no audience at the try out auditions, just a performer and three judges.  Those under 18 can have one parent or guardian attend the audition.  Please bring water as the afternoon late Spring/Summer events will be warmer.


Paul’s Story

As I write these words, I am sitting at a console in Central Florida in the Launch Control Center (LCC) for Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. I am currently monitoring the ongoing testing of the first Experimental Test Flight (EFT-1) of NASA’s new Orion capsule. It is scheduled for launch on December 4th. I am a Sr. Engineer/Scientist on the launch team, responsible for both the ground systems and telemetry systems which will launch this 47,000 lb. payload into space on December 4, 2014 aboard the 1,600,000 lb. Delta IV Heavy rocket; the most powerful launch vehicle in America’s space launch inventory. This will be my 57th launch vehicle that I have been on the launch team for, and have been launching vehicles into space for almost 30 years.

That all sounds nice, doesn’t it? But what on Earth does this have to do with the Calaveras Save Campaign? (Read on… it will all make sense eventually, I promise!)


Kyle’s Story

“Why does music matter to me….?”

*Ponders in silence*
*Turns on Holst Suite in Eb*

As I sit here staring at a blank screen, memories flood my mind and heart from experiences that can only be described as extraordinary. The scope of defining this question is like putting limits on the universe. Music and its importance can’t be measured, but it is always felt.

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Steve’s Story

Why Music Matters to me

A Decisive Beginning

I have been a musician for 31 years. I started out as a trumpet player in 4th Grade. It wasn’t by choice mind you. It was because it was “chosen” for me. My brother played trumpet and we had two trumpets around the house so I was shoved in the beginning 4th grade band to play the trumpet. I had no interest in music in 4th Grade. My only exposure to music was whatever music my parents played on the radio, Lawrence Welk on my German grandfather’s TV on Friday nights or whatever random country music was playing at my Grandma’s house. Like I stated, my brother played trumpet but really as I think back to 4th grade, I can’t really remember anything musical in my life.

The trumpet it was…

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