Six New Orleans students received instruments from the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation during the gospel brunch Feb. 1 at the House of Blues in New Orleans.
Keyboards were presented to N’iya’Oni Birden, Don Jefferson and Andrelle Lewis. Lori Champion received a violin, Molly Kathleen Graham received a viola and Khalila Williams received a baritone saxophone. In all, the instruments are valued at more than $8,000.
“Music has the power to create possibilities in young people’s lives, and we are dedicated to helping connect aspiring artists with resources that otherwise would not be available,” Executive Director Marjorie Gilberg said. “Give Music is the perfect partnership between our supporters and young musicians in our local House of Blues communities.”
Throughout the 2014 holiday season, Music Forward’s Give Music invited young musicians from across the country to send letters detailing what new instruments would mean for their lives. Music Forward received nearly 2,000 letters and will provide instruments valued at more than $60,000 to aspiring young musicians nationwide. All of the letter-writers will receive a special discount from Musician’s Friend toward the purchase of a new instrument.
“Each letter was unique and amazing, but so many told a similar story. Even if kids had access to an instrument, oftentimes it was damaged, old and shared among several students. They couldn’t take it home to practice or use it during summer and school breaks,” Gilberg said. “They weren’t able to do what they loved most: play music.”