Bringing the music, no matter the cost

Thanks to local partnership, Thurston schools receive 28 free instruments

lpemberton@theolympian.comAugust 26, 2013 

Money will no longer be a barrier to music for dozens of local school children thanks to a partnership between Patrons of South Sound Cultural Arts and Thurston County’s Rotary clubs.

Last week, representatives from the organizations presented 28 new and refurbished instruments — as well as stipends that will cover repair costs for many others — to administrators and music educators in Olympia, North Thurston, Tumwater and Rochester school districts.

“Repair money really goes a long way for the districts,” said Alan Fuller, who teaches orchestra at four Tumwater schools and serves on the POSSCA board of directors.

Schools were invited to submit requests for the project, known as the Cultural Assistance Program for Students. And that was an easy task, according to Karen Eitreim, North Thurston’s director of diversity, languages, arts and discipline.

“Basically we can use anything — and do,” she said.

Thurston County Rotary clubs donated about $9,000 for the project, said Dustin Wilson, a member of Lacey Rotary. It was a portion of the proceeds raised at the Cool Jazz/Clean Water event last November at the Washington Center for The Performing Arts.

Since 1992, POSSCA has purchased and collected donated instruments to clean, repair and pass along to kids whose families can’t afford to purchase or rent an instrument, Fuller said.

“To date, we’ve put out over 450 instruments to students in need,” he said. “I’ve seen high school kids carrying their POSSCA trombone that they got in fifth grade, and they’re still using it.”

To donate: Music 6000, Yenney Music, Westside Music Center and South Sound Music Center collect instruments all year for the program. 

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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