MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Hundreds of people of all ages turned out to enjoy the second annual Oktoberfest at The Woodland on Saturday, October 5, helping to raise $8,500 for the Vanessa Pollock Music Initiative of the Achieve Foundation.

“We are honored that the organizers of Oktoberfest chose the Achieve Foundation as the recipient of funds raised at their amazing event again this year. It demonstrates their commitment to the community, the public schools, and music education opportunities for all students in the South Orange & Maplewood School District,” said Achieve’s Executive Director Eileen Collins Neri.

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The VPMI was established by Vanessa and her husband Charlie Pollock five 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.

Ms. Pollock was overwhelmed by this investment in the program: “I am blown away by the radical generosity of the SOMA Brewing owners and their selflessness. Their small business is truly making a difference in our community and it is an honor to know them. The Oktoberfest donation alone ensures 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. Because of this gift, EVERY child will be able to participate in band and orchestra!"

Co-owner Adam Heydt added, “On behalf of the SOMA Brewing Company, we are thankful for our volunteers and communities who helped make the second annual Oktoberfest a huge success. It’s our honort o serve this wonderful SOMA community and this amazing music initiative.”

The next fundraising effort for the VPMI will be a special holiday concert performed by Charlie Pollock and Friends. The sounds of the season will be performed by amazing Broadway talent at the Columbia High School auditorium on Sunday, December 8 at 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at