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SEATTLE-- Music matters!

That s the battle cry for folks who want to save music programs in our schools in Washington state.It s also the two words that will appear on special license plates that Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law Tuesday.

Inglemoor High School Orchestra instructor Jim Rice is getting one.

You bet, he said. To me it s an exciting thing to drive around and say music matters.

The campaign to get the special license plates approved took three years. Now for $40 you can tell the world how you feel about music and at the same time help struggling music programs. It costs $30 to renew the plates.

The last thing we need to do is raise the remaining amount of funds to get the project off the ground, said Michael McMorrow from Synergia Northwest. The state required $35,000 initially for some administrative costs and for some initial printing of the plates.

That s where this Friday s concert comes in.It s a benefit concert at Seattle s Moore Theater. Proceeds from the concert will help pay for the license plate campaign and make those Music Matters plates a reality.

According to the organizers news release, highlights of the evening will include performances of the Synergia Northwest Orchestra with Pacific Northwest rock recording artists including Grammy award-winning drummer Alan White ( yes, John Lennon) and his band WHITE, Shawn Smith of Brad, Tennis Pro, Heart by Heart with Heart founder Steve Fossen and Somar Macek, Brendan Hill of Blues Traveler, Michael McMorrow, special performances by the Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drum Corp and Seattle Kokon Taiko.

The hopes are high. Once those license plates are available, organizers predict a healthy revenue stream of at least $200,000 for the first three years to help music programs in Washington state schools.

It can only get bigger and bigger as more people are award of the license plates, said McMorrow who will also get one for himself and every driving member of his family, once the license plates are available.

But first things first. There s the concert this Friday night to raise the rest of the funds needed to make this dream of helping music programs a reality.

We've raised $16,000, said McMorrow. They now have $19,000 to go.

For more information about the concert and how you can get tickets go to www.synergianorthwest.com.

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