Last month, 99.9 KTYD dedicated all of February to the Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s Keep the Beat Instrument Drive. The on-air event appealed to the community for donations to Santa Barbara Unified School District music programs and yielded 140 musical instruments and more than $10,000 in support.
The radio event celebrated the power of music education with interviews with music teachers and local professional musicians like Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket to young aspiring musicians like Andrew Ji, a Dos Pueblos High School drum major.
All joined forces to send the message of the importance of school music programs and ask for donations of used instruments collected at weekly drop-off events.
“It meant a lot to me to be at the Keep the Beat radiothon. It helped the music lovers in our community make the connection between their favorite artists and the potential future artists that I have in my music class,” said Brett Larsen, Santa Barbara Junior High music teacher.
The efforts yielded everything from more common donations like guitars and violins to the obscure, like an electric ukulele and a didgeridoo from Australia. Although the donations were diverse, the common thread is that they are in the hands of students in SB Unified music programs.
Mr. Larsen sees first-hand how donated instruments elevate musical learning opportunities for his students.
“To upgrade a promising young musician from a rental quality instrument to a professional quality instrument is priceless. It brings them that much closer to achieving their dreams,” he said. “Special thanks to the Johnson Ohana Foundation, Pacific Premier Bank, and Nick Rail Music for supporting the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive.”
Since 2003, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has kept the beat for school music programs by raising funds to pay for music instruction and collecting instruments for local school music programs. For more information, visit www.santabarbaraeducation.org.