Given how easy it is for all of us—retailers, manufacturers, reps and journalists alike—to focus solely on the next quarter, the next meeting or the next issue, it’s important to remind ourselves now and then that there are causes larger than ourselves and our businesses. Whether it’s a research hospital that treats deadly diseases, an organization that feeds, clothes and shelters the poor, or a program that puts musical instruments into the hands of people who’d otherwise not have access to the tools of music, charitable organizations demand, and deserve, our attention and support. For that reason, The Music & Sound Retailer publishes our “Good Stuff” cover story every spring. It’s our way not only of reminding the music industry of everything our members are already doing, but also of inspiring our peers and colleagues (and ourselves) to step up our charitable, philanthropic and community-affirming efforts.
Yamaha Corp. of America
D’Addario & Co.
On average, Guitar Center provides monetary support and instruments to more than 400 schools, music educators, music programs, charities and non-profit organizations annually. Some of the charities and non-profits that Guitar Center helped over the years include Little Kids Rock, Girls Rock Camp, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Girls Make Beats. Over the past several months, Guitar Center has donated to various charities across the country.
The Johnson City School District, in New York, received a musical upgrade to its music program due, in part, to Guitar Center’s corporate giving program. The donation included guitars, drums, amplifiers and more, totaling $10,000. According to the high school’s music director, Matt Clauhs, the donation will impact hundreds of music students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and it’ll expand the school’s music program and make a new modern band class possible. At St. Joseph Academy, in Walton KY, Sister Margaret Mary Perez has run the music program for many years. It is 100-percent dependent on donations. Guitar Center has been a major contributor of equipment to keep the music program going.
In order to enhance music education in Indianapolis IN, Guitar Center provided a monetary donation for, and it was recognized as a Platinum sponsor of, the Brownsburg Education Foundation. That is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and grants to local students, faculty or staff of the Brownsburg Community School Corp. to further their educational pursuits. The scholarships help promote creativity, innovation and excellence in the Brownsburg community.
Recently, Guitar Center proudly partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant 15-year-old Joshua’s wish to have a drum set. With help from DW Drums, Zildjian, Tama, Gibraltar Hardware and Vater, Guitar Center reps Jonah and Adam (drummer for the band RDGLDGRN) treated Joshua to a special wish-reveal party, where he received all the essentials to make him a rock star.
According to Brian Berman, Vice President of Marketing at Guitar Center, “At Guitar Center, our mission is to make musical instruments accessible to everyone: not only by providing a retail channel for consumers to purchase instruments, but also through supporting music-education programs in our schools and music charities.”
Electro-Harmonix donated $1,000 to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life/Team Josie, in memory of the grandniece of Vintage Guitar magazine’s Founder/Publisher, Alan Greenwood. Josie sadly lost her battle with leukemia at age three and a half. A donation of $1,250 was made to T-Off for Autism, which is a charity golf outing in Brookville NY, with proceeds going to the Autism Society of America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the prevalence of autism in the United States at one in 68 births.
Electro-Harmonix donated two of its most popular pedals—the Soul Food transparent overdrive and Micro POG polyphonic octave generator—to the Circuits To Cure Cancer auction, which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And, a C9 Organ Machine was contributed for auction to the Creative Artists Agency Task Force in Nashville to benefit Communities In Schools, whose mission is to increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates.
Notes for Notes is dedicated to designing, equipping and staffing after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs. It allows young people to access professional music-making instruments and equipment, and helps educate youth about careers onstage and behind the scenes in the music industry. Seymour Duncan has worked closely with Notes for Notes since 2011. At that time, Phil Gilley, the Founder and visionary, set up his first two “music boxes”—safe, drop-in recording studio environments—in Santa Barbara CA. Seymour Duncan supported it with several thousand dollars and musical products. Today, there are 11 music boxes, with more launching this year. Notes for Notes has now raised more than $400,000 in five years, and the annual Seymour Duncan Notes for Notes Benefit Concert has featured inspiring performances from Slash, Steve Miller, Jimmy Vivino, Joe Bonamassa, Peter Frampton, Robert Randolph, Don Felder, Gram Parsons and many others (including Seymour W. Duncan himself).
“Our goal is to gather spectacular guitarists who might not otherwise get to play together up on stage,” Seymour Duncan’s CEO, Cathy Carter Duncan, said. “So, it’s not just a regular show. Other companies and artists in MI, including Fender, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa and more, have supported us via donations of instruments and memorabilia,. Notes for Notes is very efficient, and they make every dollar count. They do it for all the right reasons, and they do it successfully. I am very proud of the kick-start we have been able to give to such a great program.”
HARMAN recently launched a global cause initiative, called HARMAN Inspired. The program draws on the talents and passions of HARMAN employees to improve the lives of youth in communities around the world, focusing on the areas of music, technology and service. The kickoff event at Juan Morel Campos School in Brooklyn NY introduced HARMAN’s largest charity partner in the United States: Little Kids Rock. Following the successful launch of HARMAN Inspired in Brooklyn, three regional teams participated in instrument deliveries to underserved schools in their areas. It was a life-changing experience for many of the participants, and an exciting opportunity for the schools and children to have support for their music programs.
HARMAN employees visited the following schools across the country: the Northridge CA team visited Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles; the Richardson TX team visited Seagoville High School in Dallas TX; and the Franklin KY team visited John B. Whitsitt Elementary School in Nashville TN.
Last year, Audio-Technica continued its support of many non-profit charitable organizations, focusing particularly on those that provide music education and other music-related programs. As it has each year since 1998, Audio-Technica held a One-Day Charity Sale in the fall of 2015 to raise funds for a number of worthy organizations. Among them was MusiCares, which provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. Audio-Technica also renewed its sponsorship of Notes for Notes, an organization that builds, equips and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs and after-school facilities. As part of its sponsorship, Audio-Technica provides microphones and headphones for many of the Notes for Notes locations.
Likewise, Audio-Technica continued its sponsorship of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. It’s a state-of-the-art mobile recording and multimedia studio that travels the country, offering free, hands-on experience in music and video production to students of all ages. For several years, Audio-Technica has supported the bus’ educational efforts by supplying A-T headphones and microphones. Similarly, the company provided audio equipment to the West Suburban YMCA in Newton MA, in support of its Center for Creative Arts, which boasts a fully equipped recording studio for students to use, as well as to The Record Company in Boston, a community-based studio that’s committed to youth music education and independent record-making.
Thanks to the many generous donations of its employees, Audio-Technica was also proud to continue its longtime support of the United Way in Summit County, in Ohio, where A-T U.S. is headquartered.
Eastman Guitars is proud to play a small part in supporting a non-profit called United Sound. Collaborating on a design by Major League Baseball player Bronson Arroyo, a guitar finalized by Eastman’s Head Luthier, Otto D’Ambrosio, is for sale on United Sound’s Web site. The proceeds will go to the organization.
“With their growing success with bands and orchestras throughout the country, we thought it was a fun and impactful opportunity to build a guitar for United Sound and, hopefully, to help them bring in an even wider audience to support the organization,” Eastman’s Founder, Qian Ni, said. “What Julie Duty and her group are doing is so important to the community and to music that anyone who learns about it will want to be a part of it.”
Arroyo’s inspiration for the guitar came from a conversation he had with Pearl Jam’s front man, Eddie Vedder. He began doodling on a napkin and, soon, he realized that the design could be great for the top of a guitar. The sum of work with Eastman’s D’Ambrosio, the guitar combines Arroyo’s design with the handcrafted history of Eastman Guitars.
To support United Sound, go to unitedsound.org.
Yamaha Corp. of America
Children with special needs and those who live in underprivileged communities often miss out on beneficial school music performance experiences. Two non-profit organizations—Harmony Project and United Sound—are tackling that issue and building student success with assistance from Yamaha Corp.
Since 2001, Harmony Project, a music mentoring program for low-income children, has reached more than 2,000 students in half of Los Angeles’ 21 designated gang-reduction-zone neighborhoods, and it’s launching nationwide. A partnership with Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute (YMWI) will expand the program to offer collaborative training, such as a new consortium to integrate music and medicine at Allegheny Health Network and to provide programming throughout Pittsburgh.
“Harmony Project is an antidote for the challenges low-income communities face, such as alienation, distrust, poverty, crime and gangs, which thwart each child’s potential to thrive,” said Barry Bittman, MD and CEO of YMWI. In 2009, Harmony received a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (previously “Coming Up Taller” awards) from First Lady Michelle Obama. All Harmony Project “Class of 2015” graduates are enrolled in college, despite the nearly 50-percent dropout rates and low-college-enrollment characteristics of students’ neighborhoods. At Super Bowl 50, Harmony Project students performed at halftime with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Yamaha also sponsors United Sound, a program that makes it easy for music educators to involve special-needs students in instrumental music programs. In its first year, 15 schools in four states matched peer mentors with special-education students and teachers to guide new students on the fundamentals of playing an instrument.
D’Addario & Co.
The D’Addario Foundation transforms children’s lives through active participation in community-based music education. As grant-makers, the D’Addario Foundation follows a disciplined system to vet and identify the most impactful programs to support, and it provides funding to those programs in the early stages of development. The mission focuses on three main touch points: in-school instruction that provides traditional, as well as contemporary, approaches to attracting students to music; after-school programming in underserved areas that provides not only instruction, but also a safe haven for at-risk children; and music as a form of social inclusion, giving special-needs individuals opportunities to engage with others, mentor and be mentored. By attacking the landscape of music education on those three fronts, the D’Addario Foundation believes it will effect social change, foster better citizens of the world, and break cycles of poverty and lack of education.
The D’Addario Foundation has launched its first-ever fundraising campaign with the goal of greatly increasing the scale and impact of its work. Every dollar donated to the D’Addario Foundation goes directly to serving its partner programs. D’Addario & Co. absorbs all the operating costs. D’Addario’s Playback Program, which allows consumers to donate guitar strings of any brand to be repurposed and recycled, provides a percentage of its proceeds to benefit the D’Addario Foundation.
The D’Addario Foundation has announced a new home for the D’Addario Performance Series at the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York City. The performances will continue to feature the world’s best emerging guitarists.
The D’Addario Foundation has launched the Sound Check Initiative with partner City Winery, offering students in foundation-funded programs the opportunity to experience professional musician sound checks, Q&A with artists and, in some cases, the chance to perform
onstage with them.
In recognition of D’Addario’s outstanding charitable initiatives, the D’Addario Foundation won The Retailer’s Outstanding Community Service Award for the third year in a row at the recently concluded NAMM Show.
On-Stage is proud to have supported and donated to two very deserving organizations over the past year: Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Los Angeles and New Orleans non-profit Trumpets NOT Guns. The donation to The Rock n’ Roll Camp stemmed from On-Stage’s recent exhibition at the NAMM Show. On-Stage showcased more than 200 products at the show, including music accessories, stands, bags and cases. All the displayed products were then donated to Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls in L.A., an educational organization that empowers girls through music education.
Earlier in 2015, On-Stage’s Executive Chairman, Jim Hennessey, learned about a local Connecticut school that was donating musical instruments to a New Orleans non-profit called Trumpets NOT Guns. Hennessey saw it as a great opportunity for On-Stage to not only connect with a local Connecticut school, but also assist a very worthy organization in New Orleans: a community that is known for its rich involvement with music, but that’s recently lacked sufficient funding. Together, the school and On-Stage personally delivered more than 100 instruments and accessories to the non-profit, which focuses on using music to help foster creativity, growth and responsibility.
“On-Stage has always believed in fostering music education and giving back to local communities, and we’ve been proud to do so in and around the Connecticut area,” stated Hennessey. “These two instances were opportunities for On-Stage to go beyond our backyard and help other communities to grow and to use music education as an incredible tool.”
Mogami Cable has teamed up with the Traveling Guitar Foundation to supply quality instrument cables for donation to school programs and for use in its live performances. The Traveling Guitar Foundation is an award-winning 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by professional guitarist Damon Marks. It delivers music education to schools across the United States that are struggling to finance their school music programs. Through cooperation with sponsors like Mogami, the Traveling Guitar Foundation works to foster creative and intellectual growth by ensuring equipment availability and through interactive performances before faculty and the student body. Find out more about the Traveling Guitar Foundation at travelingguitarfoundation.org.
Reverend Guitars is proud to partner with Meshell Ndegeocello to donate the Prototype Reverend Meshell Ndegeocello Fellowship Signature Bass to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Ndegeocello partnered with Reverend designer Joe Naylor to create a bass that is both minimalist and versatile to cover all the styles that Ndegeocello touches on in her music. The museum will open in the fall on the National Mall in Washington DC. Until then, the instrument is on view, in the exhibition “Through the African American Lens,” at the National Museum of American History, NAMH East Wing, 2nd Floor, Room 2200. To learn more, visit nmaahc.si.edu/exhibitions/lens.
A team of former and current Vic Firth coworkers has committed to the 2016 Pan-Mass Challenge charity bike-a-thon. The initiative was organized by Vic Firth’s daughter, Tracy. The principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 46 years and the founder of Vic Firth Co., Firth was a performer by craft and an entrepreneur at heart. His pursuit of musicality led to a lifetime of accomplishments both on the stage and in the music products industry. It was a devastating loss when he died at age 85 from pancreatic cancer.
Team Vic Firth will ride in the 2016 Pan-Mass Challenge to honor Firth and to raise $50,000 for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Established in 1980, the Pan-Mass Challenge raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. 100 percent of every donor-raised dollar goes to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Team Vic Firth jointly said, “We are inspired to ride because Vic touched our lives in profound ways. He was persistent above all else, and he expected nothing less of those around him. He challenged us, believed in us and always wished us ‘great success.’ We are honored to ride as Team Vic Firth in the 2016 Pan-Mass Challenge!”
Team Vic Firth’s two-day, 163-mile ride from Wellesley MA to Provincetown MA will take place on August 6 and 7. A team Instagram account will document the journey from training to the finish line. Donations are gratefully accepted on the team’s official webpage (profile.pmc.org/TV0030).
Korg USA, Inc., has a reputation for being a great partner to MI dealers across the nation, and it continues to carry that commitment into the communities in which its customers live. Each year, Korg USA selects several charitable and philanthropic organizations to support through its roster of brands: Korg, VOX, Blackstar, Dean Markley, Ashdown, Spector, LAG, Sakae, HK Audio and RightOn! Straps.
Supporting music education has always been a central focus for Korg USA. A few highlights over the past year include donating a few dozen LAG guitars to Guitars in the Classroom, which is an organization that provides free music-integration classes for educators, and donating several Korg littleBits synth kits to a Maryland-based 4H program called Adventures in Science. That organization promotes the integration of science and technology among schoolchildren. Through Blackstar Amplification, Korg USA has been a leading supporter of Damon Marks and the Traveling Guitar Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that works to ensure schoolchildren have access to high-quality musical instruments and instruction.
Based in Melville NY, Korg USA is committed to being a good corporate partner to its local Long Island community. Korg USA held an office-wide toy drive around the holidays, collecting hundreds of toys for the local Toys For Tots organization. In addition to an annual food drive that benefits Long Island Cares, Korg USA employees participated in Long Island’s largest Casual Friday to help LI Cares raise $50,000 to assist neighbors in need. Last year, Korg USA partnered with Coltrane Day 2015, lending the foundation more than $20,000 worth of keyboards and amplifiers.
“Enhancing the lives of musicians and inspiring others to get involved in the community has been, and always will be, a priority for Korg USA,” Stephanie Sajeski-Franquie, Korg USA’s Director of Marketing Communications, shared.
Line 6 is partnering with Notes for Notes to advance music education and to inspire the next generation of young musicians. Notes for Notes is a non-profit organization that designs, equips and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S., and Line 6 is donating music gear to all 11 locations. Line 6 Spider and AMPLIFi amps allow participating young musicians to access an endless amount of sounds, play with the tones of their favorite musicians and explore their creativity.
“Music education is extremely important to Line 6 and our parent company, Yamaha,” said Susan Wolf, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Administration at Line 6. “But, unfortunately, kids in many communities lack access to high-quality music education and equipment.” She continued, “By partnering with Notes for Notes, we are able to provide the next generation of musicians with innovative and intuitive music gear, so they can express themselves and discover opportunities for creativity.”
Notes for Notes studios are equipped with guitars, drums, keyboards/synths, DJ gear, digital music stations and full recording studios, allowing kids to rehearse, create and record music at no cost. The organization also educates students about the numerous careers in the music industry, as
well as the positive paths that music can inspire in their lives.
Notes for Notes currently operates 11 studios in Santa Barbara CA, Nashville TN, Los Angeles CA, Brooklyn NY, San Francisco CA, Ventura CA, Atlanta GA and Detroit MI, with new locations opening soon in Austin TX, Cleveland OH, Memphis TN, New Orleans LA, Minneapolis MN, Portland OR and San Diego CA.
Peavey Electronics supports a wide range of initiatives each year through its ongoing corporate citizenship program. With a focus on the arts, wellness and youth organizations, the company continues to make a positive impact through financial contributions and donations of products and services.
“We firmly believe in the importance of taking what we have and using it to make the world a better place,” Peavey Electronics’ President, Mary Peavey, said. “Peavey has always been a strong advocate for supporting community and working with passionate groups and individuals to better the planet. We are committed to making a difference not only in our business model, but also in our service to worthy causes. We strive to help in a meaningful way, but, most importantly, we call attention to issues that are too large to be resolved by the efforts of any one individual.”
A member of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Board of Commissioners and a former Texas “Arts in Community” award recipient, Mary Peavey is an ardent patron of the arts. “Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to see the positive impact that Mississippi’s art makes in the lives of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures,” she said. “The creative spirit of Mississippi has inspired generations of musicians, writers and visual artists around the world.”
It is in celebration of that creative spirit that Peavey sponsors the annual Mississippi Governor’s Arts Awards, which honor individuals and organizations whose work on behalf of the arts has significantly contributed to the growth and development of the rich cultural heritage of Mississippi. Among this year’s featured recipients is Tom “Bones” Malone, who helped create the music for “The Blues Brothers” and who performed in the original Blues Brothers band.
Peavey also supports a number of art and music festivals, such as the 59Twenty Music Festival, which has featured renowned, award-winning artists such as The Wailers and Drivin’ N Cryin’. Funds from the 59Twenty Music Festival benefit the Care Lodge, a domestic violence shelter.
As part of its abiding commitment to health and wellness, Peavey provides sponsorship to the Go Green Initiative, which focuses on teaching adults and children to improve their quality of life by making healthy, sustainable choices. In addition to providing information and resources, the program teaches by example through the care and upkeep of community gardens.