Little Kids Rock brings music education to schools

On March 23, members of the Pandora team held a music day at Roots International Academy, a middle school in East Oakland. This is a continuation of their Little Kids Rock program, which works to bring music education to schools serving a low-income student population.

HipHopForChange works to create a more positive image of hip hop

Jay runs a non-profit in Oakland called Hip Hop for Change. His goal is to create a more positive image of hip hop that does not reinforce the stereotypical images perpetuated by the mainstream music industry. “We’re trying to put our real image out there, so people can see our real culture, instead of making stereotypical tropes of our culture to entertain themselves with,” Jay said. “Those tropes that criminalize our black and brown youth.”

Introducing the Tales of Two Cities Podcast, radio stories from Richmond and Oakland

Dear Readers/Listeners, The combined staff of Oakland North and Richmond Confidential is excited to announce a new bi-weekly podcast featuring radio stories from Richmond and Oakland, as well as interviews with our reporters, community leaders and other news-worthy characters. Every two weeks until June, we will bring you radio stories focused on a theme or issue affecting these two cities. You will also hear from our reporters to get a behind the scenes look at our news room. Every other Thursday, check our sites for new…

Through adversity, music programs in OUSD fight to grow

Cal’Vion Evans, an eighth grader at Roots International Academy, begins slowly, tapping the cymbals and toms with two wooden drumsticks. The drum set rests on a mini-stage, a short platform covered by a rug and flanked on either side by guitar stands, each with about 10 guitars leaning in. Cal’Vion speeds up gradually, his head movements changing from a gentle nodding with the music to a swivel as his drumming becomes faster and more furious. Then he slows back down,…

Tree-lighting ceremony in Oakland’s Jack London Square draws crowds

On Friday, December 4, Oakland’s Jack London Square drew crowds for a festive tree-lighting ceremony to celebrate the holiday season. Live music filled the square as the Oakland School for the Arts’ Vocal Rush, Chamber Choir and Jazz Guitar Ensemble performed holiday favorites. Other entertainment included performances by the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees and West Oakland Middle Schools’ Oakland Spirit Orchestra. Attendees petted live reindeer, decorated ornaments, and met with Santa Claus — among other activities sponsored by local organizations.

Vocal Rush blurs the line between a cappella and activism

Founded in 2011 at the Oakland School of the Arts, the group is made up of high school students at the charter school. They have won the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) three times, including this year in April. In 2013, they placed third on NBC’s The Sing-Off, a televised a cappella competition between some of the best musical ensembles in the country. With the level of success they’ve garnered, the group has decided to use their art as a form of activism: “aca-activism,” that is.