We are five siblings of the Fong family from Elk Grove, CA, located just South of Sacramento. Our band members are Maxwell Fong (22), Nina Fong (19), Mario Fong (16), Leland Fong (13), and Jennifer Fong (10).
Maxwell graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a business degree. Nina is a Junior at San Jose State University and is majoring in biology. Mario is in 12th grade, Leland in 9th grade, and Jennifer is in 6th grade.
The idea for The College Fund Street Band (CFSB) came out of our 2012 family vacation to a Fourth of July festival in Ashland, OR. Leland, then 8, asked our mom for money for the petting zoo and carnival games (see pictures below). When she turned him down, he picked up Mario's ukulele, parked himself on a sidewalk , and put out a hat. Even though he only knew two chords and didn't sing, people gave him money. He made $60 after just one hour! The light bulbs went on. We all knew what we had to do.
For the next year, we worked on songs and learned new instruments with the goal of repeating Leland's success. Mario proved to be a worthy lead singer. He sang in tune and could hit notes high in the stratosphere with that angelic voice. Nina was our arranger and harmonizer. Maxwell figured out how to play the djembe (a conga-like drum) and gave us our signature groove. We bought Leland a shaker in the shape of an avocado. He later became our percussionist after Maxwell went to college. And Jenny, she was only five at the time. The little princess just sat there, smiled, and took it all in. Our inspiration came from the likes of Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson.
In May 2013, we crashed the Sacramento Music Festival and played right on the street as people passed by. They liked it! From there, things just kind of took off. We did more gigs including Second Saturdays, farmers markets, and then art and wine festivals. This led to invitations to play at weddings, parties, and corporate gigs from people who saw us street perform.
The occasional media coverage we get have been both fun and surreal. We've appeared in the Elk Grove Citizen, Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento News and Review, and appeared twice on Good Day Sacramento. On July 27, 2015, the Sacramento Bee covered our performance at the Crocker Art Museum and even produced a short video for their online edition. Their reporter Steve Magagnini happened to stumble upon us playing at the Rancho Cordova farmers market a few weeks earlier. He was so enthusiastic!
The idea for the band's name, The College Fund Street Band, came from our parents Ted and Marielle Fong. Everything we make goes into our college savings accounts. They want us to focus on education.
The generosity of strangers contributing to our college fund has been unbelievable. We want to thank them and everyone who follows us on social media and shows up at our gigs. Our family has been truly blessed to have this opportunity. Thank you for your support!