Spaulding High School grad and saxophonist of Dave Matthews Band, Jeff Coffin, returned to the campus in Rochester, New Hampshire on Tuesday, November 28, for a surprise visit with music students and their teachers. After performing with the Spaulding High School Concert Band and speaking words of inspiration, Coffin, alongside Yamaha, presented the school with a brand-new Yamaha YX-500F xylophone valued at more than $4,000.
Coffin’s appearance was the latest example of an effort by Yamaha in conjunction with DonorsChoose.org—a non-profit that accepts donations large and small from individuals and institutions—to provide much-needed aid to public school music programs all over the country. By matching the contributions of nearly 3,000 citizen donors, mobilized from local communities, Yamaha has contributed $250,000 to the $500,000 worth of instruments and equipment that DonorsChoose.org has donated to more than 659 schools thus far, with more than 85 percent of the recipients coming from high-need districts. Overall, DonorsChoose.org has provided aid to one in four American public schools; its partnership with Yamaha has affected the lives of 163,000 music students and nearly 700 teachers.
According to Lisa MacDonald, director of marketing, Yamaha Corporation of America, awareness and inspiration are just as important as equipment, which is why Coffin’s appearance was so valuable. “Music education provides a platform for academic success that sustains students long after graduation. The Yamaha #MusicEssentials campaign is a further evolution in our long-standing commitment to supporting music educators and a mark of our commitment to providing tangible, actionable tools for their classrooms,” said MacDonald. “We are so appreciative that Jeff could join us here today to highlight the good being accomplished in one such classroom and to send the message that music education matters. We hope music lovers everywhere will follow his lead and investigate how they can help a music teacher in their area. Supporting a music program is an investment in the success of our children as well-rounded human beings.”
“When I think about my years at Spaulding HS, I think about the deep friendships I made there, the countless lessons I learned (good and bad), and the joys and sorrows I shared with my friends,” Coffin said. “These are some of the building blocks of who I am today, and I will always have a special place in my heart for the time I spent in Rochester.
“And, I want to say a huge thank you to Yamaha for their groundbreaking #MusicEssentials program. As a Yamaha Performing Artist, I have been given the opportunity and potential to share the many benefits of music education with future generations of students and educators. I am forever grateful for their meaningful support and friendship.”
“From the moment he walked in, our kids bonded with Jeff,” said Joanne Houston, music teacher and Spaulding High School dean of students. “He made a connection with them and inspired all of us. I can’t thank him—and Yamaha—enough for making this happen.”