Children perform impromptu music to benefit school foundation


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Jake and Jamie Schmalenberger are proud that their children Jude and Jemma raised money for the Brevard Schools Foundation.

Chris Bonanno

Two children did an impromptu musical performance in their family’s Viera backyard that their parents said raised $240 for the Brevard Schools Foundation.

The performance, broadcast live on a family member’s Facebook Live feed, featured 9-year-old Jude Schmalenberger, a rising fourth grader at Manatee Elementary School and his sister, 7-year-old Jemma, who is going into the second grade. 

“It was Facebook Live so it was one take,” said Jake Schmalenberger, Jude and Jemma’s father. “They just sort of improvised the whole thing pretty much.”

They included Jude playing the drums on a cardboard box while Jemma sang into a toy microphone. The pair also both played the drums together for a time, with Jemma using markers on a glass jar to make noise.

In front of them during the performances were signs that indicated that it was for charity. 

The Brevard Schools Foundation says on its website that it “fills educational funding and opportunity gaps at all of our 83 public schools for over 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers by supporting innovation, engaging communities, and changing lives. Funds come from private contributions, corporate support, public matching funds, fundraising and endowments.”

The idea was Jemma’s, according to her mother, Jamie. 

“I wanted to sing and I wanted money to go to any type of charity,” Jemma said.

“Jemma asked me to help, and I said yes ‘cause it sounded fun,” Jude said. “….It makes me feel really good.”

Family members seemed surprised at how popular the video became. 

“We sort of figured some of our friends and family, but it seemed to get a bit wider than that, so we were pretty impressed,” Jake Schmalenberger said.

“I was surprised that a lot of people liked it and donated a lot of money,” added Jude.

Jamie Schmalenberger said that the foundation confirmed that it received the donation and was thankful for it. 

“They were thrilled. They thought it was great, what the kids did. They watched the video as well,” she added. “They thanked us and they actually invited me the next day to a virtual event that they were doing to learn more about the foundation and the money that they raised and it was really neat to learn even more about their efforts in our community and what they do to help our students and our teachers and our schools.”

Jake and Jamie also like to give back through Battle Bros, a company, that according to its Facebook page,  “intends to bring the best of the best in food festivals, friendly food competitions, and other large county events to bring the community together and experience all that Brevard has to offer.”

Jake, who works at L3Harris, started Battle Bros, along with Jamie’s brother Sean while Jamie does graphic design and social media work for the company. The company’s last big event, February’s Space Coast Wing Battle, which featured “15 food trucks and restaurants competing for best wings on the Space Coast” had a charitable component to it.

“We raised money for the Children’s Hunger Project,” said Jamie.

An event called the “321 Food Fest,” had been scheduled for Oct. 3 but was recently canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Jamie Schmalenberger noted that the event would be rescheduled and that it would benefit Bridges BTC, Inc. and “hopefully be a COVID-relief drive for so many of those eateries.”

That the family has gone out of its way to help the community seems to be born out of how much they love Viera.

"My husband and I have lived here now for 13 years and we moved here straight out of college and as soon as we decided it was time to start a family, we knew we didn't want to leave," Jamie Schmalenberger said.