Philharmonic Society of OC gives instruments to youths

Virginia Fraser and Frank Fontaine at McAuliffe Middle School. Courtesy photo

By Virginia Fraser

On September 24, 2020, the Sun featured an article regarding an instrument scavenger hunt. This was a request from the Seal Beach Committee of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County for used musical instruments to loan out to local students. The response was astounding. The Society collected a cello, flute, violin, trumpet, an autoharp, guitar, and two tenor saxophones.

The young man who donated one of the saxophones told us that a relative offered him the instrument when he was at McAuliffe Middle School. Later, at Los Alamitos High School, he was accepted into the jazz band led by Charles Wackerman. This changed his life. The places they went, the honors they received, and the friendships he made with students and staff led to a life so successful that he wanted to see another student have this same opportunity.

For many years, Rosemary Schock, a retired second-grade teacher, accompanied her students to concerts provided by the Philharmonic Society free of charge. She donated a flute to thank us for the years of musical performances she and her students enjoyed.

Recently, contact was made with Frank Fontaine, McAuliffe Middle School music teacher, to give him the scavenger hunt instruments.

He was excited about having the instruments and sharing them with Oak Middle School and the Youth Center. Now, students will have an opportunity to become musicians and be involved in the musical programs offered at Los Alamitos High School.

The Seal Beach Committee of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County is grateful to everyone who has donated. Of course, the Committee can still use more instruments.

Especially needed are large instruments that are difficult and cumbersome to cart back and forth to school, like a bass, trombone, tuba or French horn.

If you have an instrument gathering dust in your closet, here is your opportunity to let an eager student become involved with local musical activities. Please contact Virginia Fraser ( or call 562-596-8591.