Bronx public school wins Save the Music contest

Posted on Dec 23 2015 - 10:02pm by

Music teacher Melissa Salguero couldn’t understand why she was being summoned to the school office at the worst possible time.

She was moments away from opening the annual  holiday concert at P.S. 48 Joseph R. Drake Elementary School in the Bronx when her office was frantically insisting she step away to field a call.

“And there I am thinking, ‘I’m starting a concert, I can’t take a phone call,'” she said. “And they said, ‘No, you want to take this phone call.'”

Minutes later, Salguero was “shaking” and “screaming,” she said, after an even more exciting holiday gift.

She’d just been informed by reps from video game company Ubisoft that her school had won the Save The Music Select National Music Grant, backed by Just Dance 2016 and VH1.

P.S. 48 will earn an $ 8,000 grant towards musical instruments. Students will also appear in a portion of the Just Dance 2016 video game now.

Public school music teacher Melissa Salguero shows off winning moves for VH1 and Just Dance’s Save the Music Foundation contest.VH1

Public school music teacher Melissa Salguero shows off winning moves for VH1 and Just Dance’s Save the Music Foundation contest.

Ubisoft helped raise money for the grant through an in-game feature, Community Remix, which saw the company donate $ 1 to VH1’s Save the Music program whenever gamers danced to certain songs.

Salguero’s school earned that with a 30-second video featuring students who expressed how and why they loved music. P.S. 48’s entry was one of 500 submissions from around the country, and it moved Ubisoft and VH1 execs tremendously because it “really embodied the true spirit of the contest.”

“We were touched to see how big of an impact music has made on the students at P.S. 48,” said VH1 Save The Music executive director Paul Cothran.

It’s an award that the tiny Bronx school will use well, Salguero said. Until she arrived 2011, the school had no music program, and over the last four years, she’s seen an injection of life in the halls. But music supplies have been hard to come by. The Save the Music grant will be used to purchase plenty of new instruments, Salguero said, igniting the program that she started.

“We’re going to have many more opportunities for students to actually participate in an ensemble, in the choir,” Salguero said.

Salguero’s kids from PS 48 in the Bronx get into the groove for the new edition of the video game.VH1

Salguero’s kids from PS 48 in the Bronx get into the groove for the new edition of the video game.

Not bad for a contest that she entered on a whim, when she happened to spot the Just Dance website.

“I personally am a video game nut,” she said. “So when I saw it, I immediately said this is an amazing opportunity for my school and my students.”

So she set about interviewing students and crafting the short YouTube clip that eventually earned the grant. And it’s then, she said, that she realized the true impact that music had had on her school.

“Students, they would talk forever because they were so passionate about it,” she said. “It was so hard to get all that footage down to 30 seconds … I got choked up listening to them talking about it.”

They’ll have even more to talk about over the next few months, too.

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esamuel@nydailynews.com

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