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Buffalo students and school officials took a breather from the district's fiscal woes Monday to sound some happy notes about the rejuvenation of the district's long-struggling music education program.

More than 45 schools have music programs, and instrumental music is being offered in early elementary grades for the first time in more than 25 years, Superintendent Marion Canedo said at an assembly in School 45 on Hoyt Street.

The assembly recognized the Adelphia and VH1 Save the Music program, which has donated $1,125,000 worth of new musical instruments to Buffalo schools over the last four years.

"My thinking is that someplace, somehow, you can't let this program languish and fade away," said John J. Rigas, president and chief operating officer of Adelphia Communications Corp.

"If I practice my school work like I practice my instrument, it helps me do a better job in school," said James Green, a sixth-grader at Hillary Park Academy who plays the alto saxophone.

"I think music is part of learning, and I'm glad you all agree," said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I have long believed we need music in our lives and music in our schools."

Canedo called the Save the Music program an outstanding school-community partnership, since it provides services that would otherwise not be available.

"This is a gift that is beyond (the district's) capacity to give," she said.


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