A longstanding vision to bring a professional music production lab to Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) was realized Dec. 8 with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly dedicated Michael J. Libow Music Industry Center.
Instructors Rodney Mitchell and Alex Breitman started the journey of bringing a recording studio to the school’s students several years ago. Since then, they have been working with colleagues to piece that studio together through state and federal grant funding along with school district contributions. But a recent $50,000 donation made by Beverly Hills philanthropist and real estate agent Michael J. Libow marked the crescendo for Mitchell’s and Breitman’s vision.
“The primary reason for my support of the arts in education within schools is to give students the opportunity to exercise the creative part of their brains which I feel is important to their development,” Libow told the Courier.
Libow’s donation paid for the latest equipment and new instruments, bringing the music center to a higher level of professionalism, school staff told the Courier.
Stepping through the main doors of the music center, it looks like a standard computer lab at first glance–rows of desks and computer monitors. But this lab is stocked with production equipment where students learn how to produce music. Through an interior door to the left is a recording booth equipped with a professional mixing board and other recording equipment. To the right is a creative studio filled with musical instruments including a piano, drums, guitars, synthesizers and microphones. It was in this creative space where Libow and BHHS students broke into a jam session during the Dec. 8 event. Libow, who is a musician to boot, sang lead vocals in an impromptu performance of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” with students backing him up on piano, drums and guitar.
About 40 people attended the event including Beverly Hills City Councilmember Lester Friedman, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Johnson, Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) Superintendent of Schools Michael Bregy and other stakeholders.
“It’s the kind of program that is symbolic of what Beverly Hills is all about,” Friedman told the Courier, saying it aligns with the city’s commitment to arts and to the youth who will become the future Beverly Hills community.