Jon Frank: A lasting legacy for CMC young musicians

Jon Frank on his trap set

Jon Frank has a long history at Community Music Center supporting the excellence of young musicians. He spent 26 years of a nearly four decade career as a music teacher nominating his students to audition for the CMC Young Musicians Program. Even though he has retired, his work with young musicians lives on. With the creation of the Sid and Iris Frank Memorial Scholarship, in memory of his parents, CMC students will receive a tuition-free education for generations to come.

Jon Frank taught instrumental music for 39 years, primarily in the San Francisco Unified School District, before retiring in July of 2018. In 1992, his last year of teaching band and orchestra at Roosevelt Middle School, Ken Rosen, a former CMC faculty member, came to visit Roosevelt to recruit students for the CMC Young Musicians Program. Jon handpicked a number of students who he thought would benefit from the extra musical training to audition at CMC. From 1992 until 2018, when he was the Director of the Hoover Middle School Orchestra Program, he sent many students to audition for the YMP scholarship. He had great success getting students to audition for and be accepted in the program. It became a tradition in the Hoover Orchestra program for students to be involved at CMC.

Jon Frank’s connection to CMC runs deeps and includes his family, who are musicians as well. His son Noah was in the Teen Jazz Orchestra with Ken Rosen and studied trumpet. His wife, Lynne Rappaport, was in the Anything Goes Chorus and now sings in the Older Adult Choir Program. Jon, a jazz drummer, participated in the Tuesday night jazz ensemble with his son Noah. As Jon said of CMC’s music education, “I think the world of CMC. It’s been a great experience for my family to go to CMC. As a teacher, I’ve seen what great things CMC music scholarships can bring.”

The creation of the music scholarship in honor of his parents began in 2007, when Jon’s father, Sid, passed away. Both his mother and father were supportive of music, so it seemed natural to honor his father’s memory with a scholarship. Stephen Shapiro, the CMC Executive Director at the time, made the suggestion that the scholarship be set up in perpetuity, meaning that it would be active once the fund began accruing enough interest to pay the yearly cost of the scholarship. For years, friends and family donated to the scholarship fund boosting it closer to the point where it could accrue the necessary interest to make it active. When his mother passed away in 2018, he decided to pay the last part of the balance to activate it and add her name, Iris, to the scholarship. Starting in the 2020–2021 school year, the Sid and Iris Frank Memorial Scholarship will support a young musician on consideration of both musical growth and financial need. The student will receive private music lessons free of charge and be eligible to renew each year.

Jon Frank has left a lasting legacy for CMC young musicians and has generous wishes for both CMC students who receive the scholarship and for CMC’s future, “I hope the students will be able to become more highly-trained musicians and assume a position of leadership in their school music departments, as well as at CMC. I hope CMC will continue to prosper for years to come and provide musical opportunities for those not able to afford music education.”