Local donations have enabled the Kent School District to join the Seattle-based Music4Life program that provides used instruments for free to public school districts.
The Rotary Club of Kent and Kent resident John Oliver donated the initial funds to start the program, according to a news release from Music4Life. The Kent Arts Commission and Kent Sunrise Rotary also have pledged funds.
The Kent Music4Life Booster Club, led by Coldwell Banker Bain broker Linda Mackintosh, is seeking other funding to sustain the program.
“We are proud to be a part of this program and can’t wait to see the success of Music4Life in Kent,” said Mackintosh in the news release. “The Kent School District has a free-and-reduced-lunch-rate of more than 48 percent, meaning that the students of many families are likely to need help in acquiring a musical instrument to participate. We can do this. And should.”
Music4Life (Music4Life.org) is a non-profit that acquires used musical instruments from people who no longer need them, repairs them (if possible) and then provides them at no charge to participating public school districts for use by students in need.
“Partnering with our community to bring the Music4Life program to KSD will open doors for many of our students,” said Kent School District Superintendent Calvin Watts. “Music4Life has a long history of working with local public school districts to provide instrumental music opportunities for students. This partnership is exciting for the Kent School District.”
Music4Life also operates programs supporting public schools in Auburn, Bremerton, Edmonds, Everett, Highline, Northshore, Seattle and Shoreline.
The Kent Music4Life Booster Club has a governing board comprised of Mackintosh; Hira Bhullar of the Kent Schools Foundation; Christine Corbley of the Kent School District; Brenda Farwell of the Kent Community Foundation; Don Gregory, president of Kent (lunch) Rotary; Allyson Johnson, Kent Schools Foundation; Kate Matos, president-elect of Kent (lunch) Rotary; Oliver, Kent Schools Foundation; Skip Rowland, local business leader of Banner Cross, Inc.; Christopher White, Kent School District; Harry Williams of Kent (lunch) Rotary; and Marge Williams of the Kent Community Foundation and Kent Sunrise Rotary.
Gary Milligan of ATS Automation serves as program coordinator for the Kent Music4Life program. Other community members who are interested in kids, instrumental music or education are welcome to participate.
Music4Life has relationships with several musical instrument repair shops, including Ted Brown Music in Tacoma, Kennelly Keys Music in Lynnwood and Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah. All vendors provide discounts for instrument repairs, as well as for purchases of new musical instruments.
Music4Life provided 2,036 ready-to-play musical instruments at no charge for use by students at eight Puget Sound public school districts in 2018, according to its website. The instruments are valued at nearly $183,000.