Parents make a lasting gift to La Jolla's Gillispie School

Melissa Fay encourages the audience to sing along with the Gillispie School Choir at the Endowment celebration. Photo: Annette Bradbury
Melissa Fay encourages the audience to sing along with the Gillispie School Choir at the Endowment celebration. Photo: Annette Bradbury


By Jeanie Scott

Special to the Light

On June 16, Liam and Aidan Fay, along with their parents, Melissa and Todor, said goodbye to their elementary school days at The Gillispie School. In the fall, the boys will begin middle school. Although the Fay children will no longer walk the halls of Gillispie, their parents have left behind a lasting musical legacy at the La Jolla school.

Melissa Fay, known professionally as Melissa Jordan Grey, fell in love with music during her own elementary school years and was compelled to pay that gift forward by creating an original music, art and video production at her own children’s school.

Gillispie’s rich history was the inspiration for the professional musician and composer, who suggested the multifaceted project. After many years of producing quality videos for the school’s annual fundraising events, Fay wanted to create a permanent musical tribute to the school to honor her past musical mentors who believed in her own abilities.

She was inspired to merge the history of the 60-year-old Gillispie School with the current status that boasts a $4.5 million Endowment for Excellence in Teaching through music and video. It was important to the Fays that every one of the 285 students played a key role in the making the video either through art or music. Amazing things happened during the six-month production.

The Fays spent countless hours in the classrooms while the teaching staff incorporated the recording of the video and song into their everyday academic lessons. Many talented singers and musicians were discovered along the way.

The music video was debuted in front of the parents and faculty at the annual fundraiser gala and brought down the house. A week later, all the students cheered as they watched the final video for the first time during a schoolwide assembly.

Today, the original “Gillispie Song” is performed at important school functions, such as the Endowment for Excellence in Teaching major donor recognition celebration held on the campus last week.

Melissa and Todor Fay are pioneers in merging music, video and technology throughout their careers. Their interactive music technology became a fundamental part of Microsoft Windows and the couple went on to found NewBlue, their latest venture, to create innovative technologies through its NewBlueFX line of video processing technologies and Vibop!, a social video app for iPhone and Android.

Gillispie Head of School, Alison Fleming, said the The Gillispie Song “captures the accomplishments of Ada Gillispie and highlights the philosophy of our school —we love it.”



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