Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Columbia High School Music Parents’ Association Donates $20K to Support Music Programs

From the Columbia High School Music Parents’ Association:

From left-right: Peter Bauer, Band Director, CHS; Brad Kalos, Co-president, CHSMPA; Jamie Bunce, Choral Director, CHS; Barbara Cokorinos, Co-president, CHSMPA; Elizabeth Aaron, Principal, CHS; Todd Van Beveren, Orchestra Director, CHSMPA; James Manno, Fine Arts Supervisor, CHS.

Columbia High School has received a gift of $20,000 from the school’s Music Parents’ Association (CHSMPA) to benefit its music programs, including band, orchestra, marching band, and choir. CHSMPA co-presidents Bradley Kalos and Barbara Cokorinos presented the check to principal Elizabeth Aaron and faculty members on March 22.  The funds will be used for the purchase of a new piano, additional percussion equipment, and restoration of three string basses.

According to Cokorinos, “This gift was made possible by the generous financial support of music families and other community members. The past few years have seen significant growth in the high school music program, with more than a dozen ensembles serving 600 students—nearly a third of the school population—on a minimal budget. We will continue to advocate for these students and invite the Maplewood-South Orange community to join us.”

Kalos added, “Music directors Jamie Bunce, Peter Bauer and Todd Van Beveren work tirelessly every day, as well as nights and weekends, to provide the best possible music education and experience for our students. We are thrilled to support them with funding for these purchases, which will improve instruction in each class for years to come.”

The arts programs are a jewel in the crown of the South Orange-Maplewood school district, with award-winning band, orchestra, choral, and musical theatre offerings such as the recent all-school musical production of HAIRSPRAY. CHSMPA’s mission is to promote and maintain an enthusiastic interest in all phases of the Columbia High School music program and to facilitate and support its activities.

District Supervisor for Fine Arts James Manno said, “We are fortunate to have the CHSMPA organization as an invested partner. I personally wish to thank CHSMPA for their continued contributions, service and dedication to the Columbia High School Music Department.”  

For more information, to become a member of CHSMPA, or to make a donation, please visit

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