Keep The Beat Instrument Drive Hits All the Right Notes

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation wrapped up its successful sixth annual Keep The Beat Instrument Drive at the end of February, marking another triumphant fundraiser for Santa Barbara Unified music programs. The campaign garnered 40 instrument donations from the community, significantly boosting support for music education in local schools.

The program partners with 99.9 KTYD to host the live on-air event with Morning Mojo hosts Lin Aubuchon and Bill Pesso. Community members are asked to donate gently used instruments so that they may be repurposed and distributed to students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. In addition to instruments, the event raised $18,000 in funds for the program.

These donations will be used to purchase new instruments, repair existing ones, and hire specialists to further support school bands and enhance student music education.

That success would not have been possible without the remarkable support from the Keep The Beat’s sponsors. Special thanks to the Johnson Ohana Foundation, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Nick Rail Music, Raymond Music, The Red Piano, and the Jersey Mike’s on Fairview Avenue.

This year’s instrument drive yielded over three dozen instruments, significantly benefiting music programs across the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Adams Elementary music teacher Karen Dutton expressed her gratitude, stating, “Keep The Beat has been an invaluable support for music educators in the SB Unified School District. The annual instrument drive has enabled us to provide more quality instruments to our students. Access to quality instruments can greatly enhance students’ engagement with music and skill development, and seeing the excitement of a student receiving a donated instrument is priceless.”

“Research shows that music benefits students’ academic and psychological well-being, and after the impact of the pandemic on student learning, we believe it is even more important than ever to include it in our school schedules,” says SB Unified Superintendent Hilda Maldonado. “We are deeply grateful to our community members, our music partners, KTYD 99.9, and all involved in this year’s Keep The Beat event. Our music teachers have been able to provide valuable learning to students thanks to the generous donations of time, instruments, and money.”

Throughout February, 99.9 KTYD hosted interviews and performances from many public school music program alums. Keep The Beat was proud to host professional guitarist Tony Ybarra, singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff, and saxophonist for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Karl Hunter.

Since its inception 21 years ago, Keep The Beat has been an annual highlight for the Santa Barbara Education Foundation. “It’s always great to see the community come together and support music education,” said SBEF Programs Manager Katie Szopa. “The SB Unified music programs are full of talented musicians, and supporting their journey is a privilege.”

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 12,200 students in 21 schools. For more information, visit

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