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"When I first invited my family to come to a noteBUSTERS performance, they thought they were going to have to suffer through a typical elementary school concert. But noteBUSTERS is not typical in any way, shape or form. By the end of the night, they were singing along and dancing in their seats and now they come back for each show. But for those of us involved in noteBUSTERS, its so much more than a concert. Its a supportive community where our children celebrate and explore their love of music, and with a lot of enthusiasm and fun, Mr. Alex and Dr. Wood somehow get the most unlikely of kids to get up and perform solos in front of hundreds of people and a live band. Seeing my six year old sing a solo with confidence was an amazing gift and getting to perform next to her in noteBOOMERS was the cherry on top." Amanda Orr, noteBUSTER parents

"This was our family's first season with noteBUSTERS. I'm am blown away by the quality of the program and last night's performance. THANK YOU! I could see each child's confidence exploding on stage. It was truly an outstanding performance and your program is the highest quality extra curricular program any of our children has participated in . Thank you for your dedicated, professionalism and most of all delight in our children." Elizabeth McReady, noteBUSTERS parent

"It has been hard to get the sounds and images from last Sunday’s performance out of my head all week long – and who would want to?!Once again, my thoughts can be conveyed in two words: thanks and bravissimo!Thanks for the exceptional experience you give to these children lucky enough to join noteBUSTERS– the exposure to music, dance, rehearsal, live performance in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience – is invaluable not only obviously to their wonderful musical talents, but also to sense of themselves.And, Bravissimo on yet another riveting, rollicking good time that was had by all – amazingly achieved with the last minute change of venue! Congratulations to you both and to your wonderful team of instructors and musicians.Des and I feel very fortunate that Paul, Anna and Sarah have this magical opportunity. We wish each of you a wonderful summer." Timothy M. Reif General Counsel United States Trade Representative Executive Office of the President

"Music is magical and when Mr. Alex works with children, sparks fly.Alex helps children develop confidence and experience the joy of being “in the moment” with song. A choir is a collective energy and Mr. Alex knows how to build and direct that energy to allow magic to emerge.Music can foster and sustain a community and Mr. Alex knows how to build new possibilities from song and love." Dr. Charles Abelmann, Prinicipal Janney Elementary (2001-2004) currently Head Master and Director of The Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, noteBOOMER and noteBUSTER parent

"noteBUSTERS has had a huge impact on my life so far. It was a place for me to be who I wanted to be and where I could express myself. I joined in first grade and continued throughout elementary school. It made me who I am now, and I am so thankful. I've been back to perform as a noteBUSTED and hope to continue being part of the wonderful experience. " Aïda Knipp, noteBUSTED (Janney '08, School Without Walls '14)

"The encouragement and enthusiasm from Mr. Alex and Dr. Wood have given my children self confidence, poise, and lots of enjoyment. Being a noteBOOMER myself has been so much fun it’s hard to describe. Singing together with other adults in the community makes it even more delightful. I always come away from an evening practice smiling from ear to ear. Singing in noteBOOMERS is a perfect way to enjoy the present moment without worrying about the past or the future and it allows me to enjoy a special experience with my children." Camille Martone, noteBOOMER and noteBUSTER parent

"I have never seen anyone lead a group of students with more passion than Mr. Alex does. He may be teaching kids how to sing, but at the end of each performance, he is sending them home with much more than new lyrics. Children blossom with confidence and pride when a teacher believes in them. Thank you, Mr. Alex and Dr. Wood, for believing in my daughter. It is easy to show up after school once a week to sing a few songs. However, it is a lot harder to make a difference. Thank you, Mr. Alex and Dr. Wood, for always making a difference." Leslie Archer, noteBUSTER parent

"noteBUSTERS has been a second home to Elijah from the time he was a first-grader at Janney Elementary. His continuing tie to the program nine years later as a member of the "noteBUSTED" alums has re-affirmed his connection to childhood friends and enabled him to mentor the new crop of young noteBUSTERS in a form of "giving back" for all that this remarkable program has given to him." Deborah Phillips, Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University, and noteBUSTED parent

"Alex Helsabeck, known at school as Mr. Alex, is an incredible teacher. He absolutely gets kids to feel good about themselves not only as singers and performers but as people as well. I can't imagine how many shy retiring types he's convinced to belt out a solo and in the end everyone ends up with beaming smiles a mile wide. noteBUSTERS is more than a musical experience, it's a wonderful opportunity for kids to shine and Mr. Alex is the magic that makes it all happen."Scott Cartland, Principal Janney Elementary School 2004-2008, Washington DC

"noteBUSTERS is one of the best kept secrets available as an after school activity. My three children have been noteBUSTERS since its debut at Horace Mann. It's helped them build their confidence, find an appreciation for different types of music, and most importantly, it has helped them "find their voice". Mimi Million, noteBUSTER parent

"I started noteBUSTERS when I was in second grade. In third grade, Mr. Alex first came to Janney. I will never forget the first day of being utterly overwhelmed by his energy and enthusiasm. I was very shy, and didn't talk much, but I finally mustered up the courage to sing for him. And every concert after that, he gave me songs to sing from all sorts of different styles (classical, musical theater, jazz, pop, gospel, etc), constantly pushing me to explore, and not just sing, but sing from the heart. Singing in front of so many people was terrifying at first, but having Mr. Alex right next to me, I knew I could put my life in his hands (that's what it felt like at that age). Soon I went from being a shy introverted kid to a confident performer. A few years after I graduated from Janney, they started the noteBUSTERS Alumni Choir, and Mr. Alex and I came up with the name 'noteBUSTED.' Being with noteBUSTED has been a wonderful experience because those of us who have gone off to other schools and never get to see each other can come back and sing with each other with the same energy and enthusiasm as we did in elementary school. It's amazing to watch my friends grow as people and artists and to come back and see this program still thriving under the incredible direction of Mr. Alex and Dr. Wood. Because of noteBUSTERS, music and singing is now one of the biggest parts of my life, and I hope it always will be." Malinda K. Reese, noteBUSTED (Janney '06, Sidwell Friends School '12)

" Last Tuesday night I, like many of you, had one thing on my mind - turkey --- and cleaning, and grocery shopping, and family, and the seemingly monumental task of cooking said turkey and all its accompaniments. I must admit that given that state of mind, I headed to the 7:30 noteBUSTERS concert with less enthusiasm than the event deserved. For those that were there, you witnessed cars parked everywhere and a packed Deal auditorium. You were also a part of the incredible energy in the room from the performers and the audience alike, and took in a very “soulful” (as the show's title, a “Soul-filled Thanksgiving” suggested) song and dance show that brought the room's energy to another level. I often feel a bit of parent's pride at student performances - these are our students up there and they consistently handle themselves with such a sense of grace, respect and joy. But there were two smaller moments at the noteBUSTERS' show that stood out to me. The first moment showed the culture of respect and caring …and respect for others. A fourth-grade boy and a fifth-grade boy (who do not know each other well) were standing at the microphone, preparing themselves for their impending solos. Both boys looked nervous but ready for the challenge and they met it with great success. After both had sung their lines, the older boy reached out for the younger boy's hand for an awkward given-me-five/hand squeeze combination. The younger boy looked up and smiled. It was an exceedingly gentle and compassionate moment, one that epitomized the respect our students have for one another. The second showed the power adults have in fostering a student's respect for self. As is customary, Mr. Alex stood next to the soloists' microphones ready to encourage and prompt. A young girl began to sing and got stuck on her second line. As her eyes widened, Mr. Alex softly stopped the orchestra, asked them to start her part again, joined the little girl in her first few words, then allowed her to finish a quite beautiful solo to a rousing round of applause. What could have been a recital horror story turned into a briefly embarrassing then ultimately triumphant feat."Norah Lycknell, Principal, Janney School (written after the November 2010 Thanksgiving performance)

"Just last night at my book group several of us talked about how noteBUSTERS concerts make us both cry and beam, like nothing else we can think of in our lives!"Jane Stewart, Violinist, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, DC

"My son started noteBUSTERS two years ago, and since then, he will not miss a practice. He absolutely LOVES singing with noteBUSTERS - He loves Mr. Alex, Dr. Wood and Mr. Andre. He loves how fun it is each week in practice and what a thrill it is to sing in the final performance. I sit in on Tuesday afternoon practices just because the energy in the room is EXCELLENT - the room vibrates with Mr. Alex's positive energy and the kids respond with the same motivation and positive energy that he gives them -- every child in that room is fully engaged and smiling, belting out songs and having a blast. It's a true joy to watch and be part of. We know our son loves music, but we discovered more about him and his love and desire for music in the last two years at noteBUSTERS. He hums the tunes and sings the songs to himself. He has developed a confidence about his music and how he presents himself as a "singer." He says he'll do noteBUSTERS forever and can't wait for the next one. We're in love with noteBUSTERS and the noteBUSTERS’ team, and what it's done for all the children. Thank you for your love and positive spirit for the kids, and for all you do to make this happen!" Angela Johnson, noteBUSTER parent

"noteBUSTERS represents many things to many people, but for me it is just pure joy. The chance to sing with fellow parents and join in performance with our kids in a fun, encouraging environment is amazing, touching and a total blast. It allows us to celebrate our unique community in a way no other experience really can." Marla Viorst, noteBOOMER and noteBUSTERS parents

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