Northwest School of the Arts (NWSA), an arts magnet in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, will begin a drive April 1 to collect gently used or new musical instruments for students at the school who cannot afford them. The school’s instrument drive, called “Recycle the Gift of Music,” will end May 5.
At present, students must rent or buy instruments from area music stores in order to participate in the band or orchestra. There are students at the school who want to participate, but cannot because their parents can’t afford instruments and the school does not have an extra supply. The school needs financial resources to purchase new instruments or to fix those that are damaged, so NWSA is also seeking financial donations during the drive.
Dr. Barry Bowe, the principal at NWSA, says he’s looking forward to the day when his school has enough instruments so that every child can participate.
“It’s terribly sad to see students turned away because their parents can’t afford to rent or purchase an instrument and we can’t provide them with one,” said Dr. Bowe. “I want every student to have the opportunity to experience the gift of music.”
Dr. Bowe believes being ‘green’ can also apply to recycling instruments.
“As we look at ways to conserve resources, recycle and reuse goods, donating an instrument is also a smart and worthy investment in our future.”
The school needs stringed, wind and percussion instruments. Each costs about $600, and it costs $200 to repair a damaged instrument. Last year, NWSA received a $10,000 donation from Fidelity Bank to purchase larger instruments, such as tubas, cellos and string basses. NWSA music teachers Michael Sanders and Felicia Sink say that the donation has already made a difference, and even more students will be helped by the instrument drive.
“I began playing the violin in the fourth grade and my first early experiences in the orchestra fostered a passion for music that has enriched my life,” said Sink, who is the orchestra teacher at the school. “Every interested child should have the opportunity to discover the joy of music.”
New and gently used instruments or financial donations can be brought to the school (1415 Beatties Ford Rd.) or the CMS Central Learning Community (324 N. McDowell St.) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. All donations are tax-deductible and checks should be made payable to Friends of Northwest.
The school will partner with several local music-related businesses and arts organizations during the instrument drive. The public may call 980-343-5500 or e-mail laurae.mapstead@cms.k12.nc.us for more information.
Dr. Bowe knows first-hand the importance of music education. He says music changed his life.
“Playing my father’s trumpet taught me to appreciate and love music. Music education is sound learning,” said Dr. Bowe. “I know the people of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are generous, and NWSA is grateful for and appreciative of their kindness and support to help our kids learn.”