Beaverton Education Foundation partners with area music stores

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jake Schmidt holds a trumpet, one of 35 instruments collected by the Beaverton Education Foundation's Band Together initiative. The instruments are being stored at the Joyful Noise of Music in Clackamas.The Beaverton Education Foundation is one-third of the way to a goal of ensuring that any sixth-grader in the Beaverton School District who wants to has a chance to play a musical instrument this year.

So far, Beaverton Band Together, an instrument donation initiative coordinated by the foundation, has collected 35 clarinets, flutes, trumpets and trombones to help out needy students who otherwise might not be able to purchase an instrument for band class.

“The big push is to get these in the hands of kids before the first day of school,” said Kristine Baggett, executive director of the Beaverton Education Foundation. “These instruments, there’s just not enough of them.”

Beaverton Music, Tigard Music and Aloha Winds have all volunteered their stores as collection sites.

Baggett said the four types of instruments collected are the most common introductory instruments for sixth-graders. Not that the foundation will turn down other instruments. Pianos and organs are welcome as well through special arrangements.

While the foundation hopes to collect 100 instruments before school begins, Baggett said there is no hard and fast deadline.

“The ultimate deadline is to (ensure) all those incoming sixth-graders who want to be in a band are in the band,” said Baggett. “This first step is making sure every sixth-grader who wants to try out for band, can.”

Baggett said those who donated the instruments are all over the map — from adults who now have 30-year-old kids who no longer play (and found the instruments in a closet or attic) to those young musicians who decided they didn’t like one instrument and now play another.

In addition to the flute, clarinets, trumpets and trombones, the Beaverton Education Foundation has received $3,500 in donations to purchase additional instruments as well. That money has been matched by the Starseed Foundation as part of a challenge grant. Starseed is a Sandy-based nonprofit corporation that supports philanthropy, volunteerism and grant-making foundations.

Baggett praised Russ Schmidt of Beaverton Music along with Ron Royce of Tigard Music and Rick Walker of Aloha Winds for the use of their stores as drop-off sites.

“Without them, it doesn’t work,” she said. “Our music store partners are phenomenal.”

Schmidt said his shop is happy to assist the project.

“It’s nice to help the local guys,” said Schmidt, who several years ago helped collect instruments for the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, an organization that provides musical instruments to under-funded music programs.

The ages of the instruments are all over the board, he said.

“There’s stuff that’s probably 10 years old and some that’s probably 60 years old,” said Schmidt.

He said while they’ve collected dozens of instruments already, they won’t turn away additional donations.

“If someone walked in with something today, I’d take it,” he said of the used instruments, which he estimates are valued at between $100 and $300.

Meanwhile, Blake Allen, the K-12 music coordinator for the Beaverton School District, said he is pleased with the efforts of the Beaverton Education Foundation, Beaverton Friends of Music and the community for getting closer to the goal of providing an opportunity for every student to benefit from music instruction, noting that such programs really make a difference for students.

“Research shows that students who participate in instrumental music programs are more engaged in school, show higher rates of achievement, are more likely to go to college, experience lower levels of stress and develop skills needed for a 21st-century economy,” said Blake. “The instruments collected by the Band Together program will make it possible for students who cannot afford to rent or buy an instrument to participate in their school band programs.”

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