Foundation Makes Music Available to At-Risk Youth
Music is a powerful force that inspires us, brings us hope, provokes memories and so much more. One of the most overwhelming illustrations of music’s influence over humanity happened on the Titanic, with the actions of bandmaster Wallace Hartley. He and his fellow musicians started playing music as the ship began to sink, to keep the passengers calm while the crew loaded the lifeboats. Survivors reported the band continued to play until the very end. Tragically, all band members perished. Song after song that they played served as their own requiem.
That kind of impact illustrates why the Gift of Music Foundation in Cobb County was founded in 2015. After serving the community as a band director and freelance teacher for local marching bands, Chris Monroe, executive director/CEO, saw cut after cut in music programs. He launched the foundation as a response to the ongoing, nationwide decline in funding and lack of prioritization for music education. Monroe and his fellow leaders at Gift of Music work relentlessly to offer access to music for at-risk young people, by forming partnerships with music teachers, public schools and other organizations.
“Music is too important for any student to miss the opportunity to learn,” said Scott Keefer, vice president and instruments program director. “It’s such a great feeling to see a child’s face light up when they are given their first real instrument. You can see the joy right away.”
Gift of Music has a variety of ways to keep music a part of our children’s lives.
• Access to instruments. Musical instruments are provided to beginner-level students. According to the nonprofit’s website, Gift of Music is the only source in our area for reduced price and free instrument rentals for those with qualifying financial circumstances.
• Instrument donations. The foundation accepts unused band and orchestra instruments that are gathering dust in closets.
• Instrument repair center. A full-service repair shop, open to the public at the Gift of Music Powers Ferry Road headquarters, handles any repair on most band and orchestra instruments. Best of all, the proceeds go directly to provide instruments and music education for kids.
• Access to music education. Gift of Music has replaced school day music classes that have been eliminated by some public schools, providing students in grades three through five with a beginner instrumental program in an after-school environment at participating public schools.
• Instrument sales. A great selection of used instruments is available at the retail center, at the foundation headquarters, and at the online store. All purchases provide vital funding for the music programs.
• Instrument grants. Help is provided for musicians of all ages, with special circumstances, who have lost the opportunity to play music as a part of their lives. From lifetime musicians suffering with health issues, to victims of natural disasters who have lost everything, granting musical wishes always will be a part of the important work done at Gift of Music.
“The need is different everywhere we go,” Monroe said. “At Gift of Music, we focus on the parents and partnerships with schools, to ensure that music continues to play a vital role in enriching our lives. Another goal in 2022 is to expand our services in Cherokee County. I encourage you to say yes to kids and music education.”
The foundation’s headquarters is located at 2030 Powers Ferry Road SE, Suite 390, Atlanta, GA 30339, and is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and weekends by appointment. firstname.lastname@example.org. 888-551-0077 or 770-988-5075. giftofmusic.org.
– Susan Schulz is a Bible teacher and mentor who lives and plays on the Etowah River in Canton. Connect with her on social media or at susanbrowningschulz.com.