Gift makes music in 16 Baltimore schools

$425,000 in instruments restores programs

October 27, 2001|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

Sixteen Baltimore public schools have restored instrumental music programs this year, thanks to a donation of $425,000 worth of musical instruments announced yesterday.

Officials for Comcast and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation announced the donation at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary -- a school on the city's west side that, fittingly, was named after a late-19th-century black composer and conductor from England.

The good news was accompanied by a musical fanfare: The keyboardist for the rock group Bon Jovi, David Bryan, performed and spoke to pupils to promote the importance of music education.

Baltimore is one of 43 cities participating in the Save the Music effort this year. In the past two years, the foundation has given the city school system $200,000 worth of musical instruments for eight schools.

Bob Morrison, executive director of the Save the Music Foundation, said the boost in this year's funding is based on the city's "tremendous need," as well as a renewed commitment from city and school officials to restoring music education.

Morrison said the newly donated instruments -- which include brass, strings, guitars and keyboards -- have been delivered to the schools and are already being used. Most of them are new.

Only 13 city elementary schools had instrumental programs in 1999, when Save the Music made its first donation in cooperation with TCI Communications, Morrison said.

"I think we're now moving down the road to significantly impacting the lives of thousands of kids in the city of Baltimore who otherwise would have no opportunity to be involved in music," he said.

Morrison said he hopes to donate enough instruments next year to restore programs at 40 more city schools. The goal is to have instrumental programs at all of the city's 115 elementary schools by 2003, he said.

Besides the $425,000 in instruments from Save the Music, Pearl Drums and Universal Orlando donated 48 snare drums and stands.

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