PHILM's School of Rock: Online Auction for Education in Anaheim

Categories: For a cause
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Courtesy of the ACSD
The past three years have been wrought with difficulties for the Anaheim City School District. Feeling the pain of cuts, the District's budget has been reduced over that period of time by approximately 30 million dollars. That fiscal reality has unfortunately translated into numerous employee layoffs, eliminated positions, and increased work responsibilities for those who remain. The budget cuts have inescapably put a strain on staff, teachers, and most importantly students alike.

In response, the District created the ACSD Education Foundation last month as a non-profit aimed at raising much needed funds to maintain and improve the quality of education for students in Anaheim. Today, the foundation announces its first fundraising gift: a stunning electric guitar unlike no other.

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Tomaselli w/ guitar

The inaugural donation came by way of Pancho Tomaselli, bassist for the legendary funk band WAR as well as the Dave Lombardo formed power trio PHILM. The "Ecuadorian troublemaker," as WAR band mate Lonnie Jordan likes to call him, called me, as he periodically does, pitching ideas for ways in which he could use the resources afforded to him as an established musician and channel them back to the community.

In this particular instance, Tomaselli, a new father, wanted to do something that would benefit the youth. I pointed him towards Anaheim, the city where I make my home.

With the help of City School Board President Jose F. Moreno, Tomaselli and I were put in contact with ACSD Communications Director Peter Daniels. By that time, the musician had already secured the guitar donation through ESP Guitars which is endorsed by him. On the other hand, Daniels was tasked with helping launch the new foundation.

With that, Tomaselli drove 70 miles from his home for a meeting at the District office and the idea to utilize the guitar as fundraising gift via an online auction was fine tuned. For people who aren't aware, the Anaheim City School District serves just over 19,000 students including 3,000 homeless children and motel families. Eighty-five percent qualify for the Free and Reduced Federal Lunch program. In other words, the donation would be very helpful in light of the socio-economic conditions that exist in addition to the budget cuts that have taken place.

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Close-up of the crystals

The electric guitar is a 'one -of-one' exclusive crafted by Megan Dalbey and Bill Valaika. Tomaselli wanted to facilitate a donation through ESP Guitars that would definitely catch people's attention - and bids. If an estimated value of $10,000 and a beautiful design adorned with 2,500 black and white Swarovski crystals isn't enough, signatures add to the attraction. The instrument has already been signed by Dalbey and Valaika. In addition to Tomaselli, it will feature the signatures of PHILM's singer/guitarist Gerry Nestler and legendary Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo who formed PHILM as mature metal power trio.

Of course, one guitar donation to a foundation isn't the solution, but it will make a difference. Whether you genuinely care about education or just want a chance at taking home the guitar, you can make an offer starting now through the end of June by searching "PHILM Guitar" on Ebay or by checking the ACSD Education Foundation's new website for more information.


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