Nonprofit allows music to sing at Peres Elementary

Kids singing

Fifth graders at Peres Elementary school proudly rattle off all 50 states during the winter concert on Thursday. (Photo by: Brittany Patterson)

The sounds of music filled the Peres Elementary School cafeteria Thursday for the school’s annual winter music concert.

Broken into two sections to accommodate the students and parents, this year’s concert titled “One Nation” featured a mix of holiday tunes and songs with positive messages.

Students played percussion instruments and sang along to favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman” and even got the audience involved in a raucous version of “We Will Jingle” a holiday version of the Queen hit “We Will Rock You” complete with clapping and stomping.

Students at Peres get music once a week with music teacher Chris Winslow, who came to Peres five years ago through Education Through Music East Bay, an offshoot of the program that began in New York more than 20 years ago and brings music programs to underprivileged children in schools where they would not otherwise get it.

Education Through Music East Bay in now in four Richmond schools — Peres, Lincoln, Wilson and Coronado — and one school in Oakland, said Executive Director Dylan Tatz.

The program provides a general musical education for students, which includes singing, learning rhythms, reading music and playing some instruments such as recorders, percussion and ukuleles.

Winslow said he tries to work in conjunction with the teachers to incorporate what they’re teaching in the classroom into his music lessons.

For example, he said, second graders learn how to count money and so he wrote a song titled “Counting Coins” to help integrate the curriculum.

But more so than just helping kids learn, Winslow said his ultimate goal is for kids to feel comfortable expressing themselves musically and physically in front of their peers.

“We don’t teach that anywhere else really,” he said. “We don’t teach kids how to express themselves doing a math problem.”

Tatz said the program began as a response to the cutting of music and arts in the schools and strives to provide comprehensive musical education that complements the rest of the student’s learning.

“When we go into schools we see test scores improve,” he said.

Students at Peres will have another chance to show off their musical skills at the annual spring concert.



  1. If you would like to experience firsthand the power of music education by attending one of our classes, ETM-Bay Area offers a bi-monthly open house at Peres Elementary in Richmond. Our first open house of 2013 will be on January 11 from 10 am to 1pm. If you are interested, RSVP to

  2. Pete Pauliks

    Mr. Winslow is an amazing teacher! Kudos to him and his students!

  3. Robert Birks

    This program is incredible, and so desperately needed. “Hats off” to the new ETM-Bay Area executive director, Dylan Tatz. The organization raises money to fund the program, plus creates the curricula. Anyone interested in helping Dylan and his team bring music back into our Richmond elementary schools, can find out more information at the ETM-Bay Area website (

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