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Music Education and Instrument Loan Program Gets Boost

The desert’s only “School of Rock,” Academy of Musical Performance (AMP), was the July recipient of a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. The nonprofit organization will use the funds to purchase instruments and support tuition assistance for music education for the Summer AMP Camp program.

“The two primary barriers that prevent young people from pursuing a passion in music are access to instruments and access to affordable lessons,” said Humberto Vela, the new Executive Program Director of AMP. “AMP is dedicated to creating unique opportunities to fill this void, and we are grateful to the Berger Foundation and News Channel 3 for helping us continue that mission and launch the instrument loan program.”

AMP was created in 2015 by a committee of volunteers involved by the Coachella Valley Community Trust, with a 3-year commitment of seed funding from Goldenvoice. In 2017, AMP became its own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to enrich the lives of young musicians living in the Coachella Valley by fostering productivity and social responsibility through creativity, communication and collaboration. The contemporary music education program works to develop and enhance musical performance and concert production skills through participation in a “rock band” style setting.

“It’s clear that kids love this program and the opportunities it offers them,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We’re happy to help get instruments into the hands of kids who want them.”

The instrument loan program and private lessons are available year-round, as are opportunities to collaborate with other musicians and perform at various community events. AMP is well-known for its 3-week Summer Camp, for 11-18 year olds, which features the area’s top musicians teaching in small rock band format. The summer intensive includes workshops, rehearsals, individual instruction, and live performances culminating with a “Battle of the Bands” Final Showcase on Saturday, July 31.

Beginning this summer, a day camp, called preAMP, is offered for 3rd-5th grade students of all levels. Morning and afternoon sessions are scheduled for August 4-6 and focus on beginning their musical education through learning chords and songs on ukuleles. The participants then prepare special songs for a final concert on August 6.

“AMP is a very unique music education program that inspires kids to follow their passions,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2.

Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, AMP was featured on News Channel 3 programming, in public service announcements and on throughout July. For more information about AMP programs, being an instructor or other community partner, visit or call 760-537-5267. AMP is located at 82719 Miles Avenue. Summer AMP Camp is held at Hope Lutheran Church, Palm Desert.

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