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SSJID donates to Friends Symphonys school effort
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Manteca Friends of the Stockton Symphony has a friend in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

Manteca Friends chairman Norman Knodt informed members of the group that SSJID has approved a $1,000 donation for their Steppin’ Out program targeting fourth graders in the Manteca Unified School District.

The official presentation of the donation will take place “in the very near future,” Knodt told Manteca Friends members in an e-mail.

The presentation will be tied in with the recognition of the Manteca Unified students who were among the winners in a writing and art contest conducted by the Stockton Symphony Association in conjunction with the annual Steppin’ Out concert program which was held just recently. Nearly 2,200 students along with chaperones attended the concert in the Atherton Auditorium at Delta College.

The Manteca Friends of the Stockton Symphony supports this program by helping cover the cost involved in transporting the students to the Atherton Auditorium in Stockton. Knodt said the Manteca Friends donated $900 last year to send the fourth graders to the concert. They will probably donate more this year, he said, because the schools made the concert attendance mandatory for all the fourth graders.

It is for this reason the Manteca Friends of the Stockton Symphony is happy to get the support of organizations like the SSJID. The group holds one major fund-raiser during the year, at least, for now. That’s the annual Evening With Maestro Jaffe which has been hosted for a number of years by Delicato Vineyards with the Delicato Tasting Room as the venue. However, the Manteca Friends has also been looking at organizing another fund-raising event to help support programs that expose young minds to classical music.

The Manteca Friends of the Stockton Symphony goes back to the mid-1980s when it first sponsored a performance by the Stockton Symphony specifically for the entertainment and education of elementary school students in Manteca Unified. That first concert was held at the Manteca Senior Center. It was a packed event which included an instrument petting zoo where the young concert-goers had the opportunity to meet some of the performers in person, ask questions, and even to try their hand on some of the instruments.

High school band and music students were also involved in the program by volunteering their help at the instrument petting zoos.

Some of the subsequent symphony performances in Manteca were held in the Manteca High Speech Arts Building, now the Dorothy Mulvihill Performing Arts Theatre, the former Assembly of God Church on North Main which is now the Valley Presbyterian Church, and Calvary Community Church on East Lathrop Road.