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Actor & MUSD Alumnus Connects Piano Donor with School District

Students at Eastmont Intermediate School are the happy recipients of a new baby grand piano, a donation made possible with the help of veteran actor Edward James Olmos.

Olmos’s friend Cecilia Soto Loftus wanted to donate the piano to a school in hopes of fostering an interest in music and the performing arts among students, but found herself at a lost as to how to go about it after not getting a response from the two schools she had contacted about the donation.

Edward James Olmos, acclaimed actor and director, stands with Eastmont Intermediate School after helping to present a piano donated by his friend Cecilia Soto Loftus on May 3. (Photo Courtesy of MUSD)

That’s where Olmos comes in. The actor graduated from Montebello High School and upon learning of Loftus’s dilemma, reached out to friends still connected to MUSD to see if they could help identify a school willing to accept the piano.

Eastmont Intermediate School enthusiastically accepted the donation because, as Principal Cecelia Ramirez said when the piano was delivered earlier this month, the piano will have a “huge impact on the lives of our students.” She said the mint-condition Baldwin piano will remain in the auditorium, where it will be utilized by Eastmont Intermediate School students for recitals, concerts and other performances.

Loftus and Olmos went to the school personally May 3 to present the piano to students and staff. “The Montebello Unified School District thanks you for your generosity and for this wonderful gift that will inspire and bring joy to our students,” MUSD Board of Education President Hector Chacon said.

Olmos, a Mexican-American actor and producer who starred in films such as Stand and Deliver and American Me, has also been active in social issues affecting the Latino community.

He told the students that he is a “perfect example of what can happen if you dedicate yourself to achieving your dreams.

“I am who I am because of the Montebello Unified school system,” he said, telling the students that they too “come from a very wonderful environment.”

MUSD Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “This beautiful instrument will motivate our young musicians for years to come.”