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Need an ax to grind? Nonprofit opens music store

Youth Music Projects store returns proceeds to programs


by: VERN UYETAKE - Portland Mayor Charlie Hales smashed a candy-filled guitar pinata Saturday during the grand opening of the Youth Music Project store.Does your child need a new ax to grind or some new skins to beat? Then head over to Youth Music Project’s new store in West Linn.

The nonprofit music education organization celebrated the opening of its retail store in December, with the fanfare of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales smashing a candy-filled guitar pinata in true rock star fashion alongside Dave and Sally Bany, Youth Music Project founders.

“We are thrilled to offer the community the opportunity to purchase the same high-quality instruments we provide in our classrooms,” said Sally Bany. “All instruments purchased at our nonprofit will help us give the gift of music to low-income children and teens.”

The Youth Music Project is an organization established by the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation. Its mission is to provide rock, pop and country music education to youth by offering free or low-cost lessons, free instrument use and performance opportunities.

The nonprofit opened its doors in January 2012 in the Willamette neighborhood of West Linn. This summer, it moved into bigger digs across the street — a 12,500-square-foot former church.

The acoustically treated performance space can accommodate up to 200 spectators and features professional lighting, remote cameras and a direct line to two, professional-grade recording studios, as well as 22 soundproofed, individual classrooms. In its new facility YMP now can serve as many as 1,000 students from West Linn, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, Oregon City and the surrounding communities each week.

Currently, Youth Music Project has 410 students, up 80 percent from this time last year, according to Rachael Bany, Youth Music Project marketing coordinator.

The building was purchased by the foundation for about $2.5 million and was remodeled on a $1 million budget. The store is just the latest addition to the building.

The store is an authorized dealer for Gibson, Epiphone and Roland instruments, which is a big deal to Rachael Bany because the nonprofit is not the stereotypical business model.

“People can come to us and all the proceeds will go back into our program,” Bany said.

From entry level guitars to professional grade digital drum kits, the store carries Gibson and Roland instruments at competitive prices, according to Bany. They are also carrying Daisy Rock guitars designed specifically for women and girls. The store also sells accessories like guitar straps and tuners. Youth Music Project students receive additional discounts. Shoppers can try out any of the instruments for sale in one of the facility’s recording studios.

The store is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Youth Music Project offers year-round lessons on a sliding scale, including low or no cost instruction and instrument use for students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. Group and private lessons on piano, guitar, drums, vocal performance, bass, ukulele and rock band are offered.

For more information about Youth Music Project and its offerings, visit youthmusicproject.org.


By Lori Hall
Editor
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