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Philharmonic Seeks Used Musical Instruments – Brevard NC


Last updated 2/8/2016 at 9:59am

Aleta Tisdale, violinist with the Brevard Philharmonic, helps Lincoln Walker, a senior at Brevard High School, play his first notes on the violin. The instrument was donated through the Philharmonic's Donate Your Instrument program, an offshoot of the orchestra's Music in the Schools outreach. (Courtesy photo)

With budget cuts taking a bite out of school music programs and with more of this county's children wanting to play an instrument than there are instruments available, the Brevard Philharmonic is stepping in to help.

The Brevard Philharmonic's Music in the Schools Program already brings live classical music into the schools and also transports children to live performances at Brevard College's Porter Center; but a year ago Aleta Tisdale, violinist with the orchestra and director of the Philharmonic's Music in the Schools Program, stumbled upon another need.

"I was talking to one of our student volunteers. She plays both the violin and the viola. In conversation she mentioned to me that she had had a period of homelessness during which her precious and essential violin was damaged," said Tisdale. "A light went off in my brain. This organization can help!"

Tisdale knew that the Philharmonic had some old, unused instruments in storage. Suddenly she thought of another source.

"How many of our orchestra's patrons, all of them music lovers, also had older musical instruments, forgotten in their closet or attic?" she asked herself. "Why not donate them to us? We'll refurbish them, and hand them over to eager students who couldn't ordinarily afford to buy or even rent them."

So the DYI (Donate Your Instrument) program of the Brevard Philharmonic was born.

Today, with minimal promotion, mostly in the lobby during the intermission at a Philharmonic concert, the response has been encouraging. When the instrument is donated, the first step is to evaluate whether restoration is needed."

This is where donations of money are much appreciated," Tisdale said. "These instruments may need fixing and often need parts. This is an expensive process but necessary so that the student musician is playing an instrument of comparable quality and sound to his or her peers. Writing a check to Brevard Philharmonic with DYI in the memo line is just as valuable to us as the donation of a musical instrument."

As soon as the instrument is in its best possible condition, it gets handed over directly to the schools and to their band or orchestra directors.

On a cold January morning a few weeks ago, Tisdale drove to Rosman High School from Brevard to deliver eight worn instrument cases to Chelsey Montgomery, Rosman's Middle and High School band director. Before the rehearsal, Montgomery thanked the Philharmonic for its contributions and invited eight of her student musicians to open the cases and try them out.

"The sound was wonderful," said Tisdale, "especially when the donated instruments blended with the rest of the band. The kids were thrilled. All I could think about as I listened to them play was: how can I get more instruments into more kids' hands?"

You can donate your old, forgotten musical instrument or money to refurbish it to the DYI program of the Brevard Philharmonic. Contact Tisdale at (828) 884-4221 or drop off your contribution at the DYI table at the next concert, "The Best of Beethoven," featuring Isaac Stern protégé, Vadim Gluzman, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Porter Center at Brevard College.

Donations are tax deductible as The Brevard Philharmonic is a nonprofit 501C3 organization comprised of local and regional musicians, presenting six concerts annually at Brevard College's Porter Center for the Performing Arts under the baton of Donald Portnoy, its artistic director and conductor. Its mission is to foster in the community and in the local schools an appreciation for classical music and the performing arts.


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