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 music programs and yielded 140 musical instruments and over $10,000 in support.
The month-long radio event celebrated the power of music education with interviews with SB Unified music teachers and local professional musicians like Glen Phillips to young aspiring musicians like Dos Pueblos High School Drum Major Andrew Ji. 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.
According to Santa Barbara Junior High Music Teacher Brett Larsen, “It means a lot to me to be on the Keep the Beat radiothon. It helps 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.”
The efforts resulted in the Keep the Beat’s largest instrument drive yet 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 are diverse, the common thread is that they will go into the hands of students in SB Unified music programs.
Larsen sees first-hand how donated instruments elevate musical learning opportunities for his students. “And the instruments that people donate! 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.”
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.