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Instrument Donations Music to Ears of Young Artists

Oboe player benefits from instrument drive. Click to view larger
Oboe player benefits from instrument drive.

Students of all backgrounds in the Santa Barbara Unified School District have the opportunity to participate in music education, but it begins with the generosity of the public.

Since 2008, hundreds of instruments have been donated through the instrument drive to local schools and provided to students who can't afford to buy or rent those of their own.

Donations are preferred before the start of the new school year, Aug. 21, however they are accepted year 'round 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Santa Barbara Education Foundation office, 1330 State St., Ste. 201.

The instrument drive significantly increases the potential number of band and orchestra students.

“Most kids come into the program without their own instrument, so receiving these gifts of instruments is truly a blessing,” said Karen Dutton, SBUSD music instructor.

Thanks to instrument donors, music education reaches a wider demographic of students, consequently increasing the quality and equity of students’ education.

To show how indispensable the program is, Dutton shared the story of a boy named Sergio:

“[He] came to SBJH [Santa Barbara Junior High] last year not speaking much English and not having played an instrument. He sat and listened for about a week and decided he wanted to play the trumpet.”

With the help of the public’s generosity, the instrument drive provided Sergio with a trumpet, and “within a few weeks, he had surpassed the playing ability of most of my other trumpet players,” Dutton said.

Sergio found a special talent, undiscovered and unattainable before receiving the donated trumpet, and his is one story of many.

Donated instruments will be inspected and refurbished. Acceptable, working instruments will be given to local schools to be loaned to students.

For more information, contact Katie Szopa at the SBEF office, 284-9125, or visit sbefoundation.org/instrument-drive.

— Mikayla McNair for Santa Barbara Education Foundation.


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