SOMA company donates $5,000 from Oktoberfest event to Achieve music initiative

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, SOMA Brewing Co. brought its popular Oktoberfest at The Woodland in Maplewood back to the community on Saturday, Oct. 1. Hundreds of people of all ages turned out to enjoy the free event that included music, arts and crafts, and food and drink — and helped to raise $5,000 for the Vanessa Pollock Music Initiative of the Achieve Foundation in the process. 

“We are honored that the organizers of Oktoberfest again chose the VPMI as the recipient of funds this year, demonstrating their commitment to the community, our public schools and access to arts education opportunities for all SOMA students,” Achieve Executive Director Eileen Collins Neri said. 

SOMA Brewing Co. co-founder Adam Heydt said, “We look forward to working together again with VPMI and the Achieve Foundation to further advance this wonderful music initiative.” 

The VPMI was established by Vanessa and Charlie Pollock seven years ago to improve music resources and expand access to music education for all students in the South Orange–Maplewood School District. Specifically, VPMI funds have underwritten instrument rentals so all students can participate in band and orchestra at the elementary and middle school levels; provided scholarship awards for private music lessons for Columbia High School students who have demonstrated exceptional musical talent; refurbished instruments owned by the district; and fulfilled grant requests from teachers and/or administrators within SOMSD that relate to music education. 

“Charlie and I are so grateful for the generosity of the SOMA Brewing owners and our community,” Vanessa Pollock said. “The Oktoberfest donation of $5,000 helps us to ensure that all children in our school district who need financial assistance to rent an instrument for this school year will be able to do so. We thank everyone who attended Oktoberfest and made this possible, and hope to see everyone again at our annual holiday concert.” 

The next fundraising effort for the VPMI will be “Together: Charlie Pollock & Friends Holiday Concert” on Saturday, Dec. 3. The concert will be presented live and in-person, with a livestreaming option.

Photos Courtesy of Eileen Collins Neri