WQXR's Instrument Drive Ends With More Than 2,500 Donations

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Jose Castillo of New York Public Radio picks up the instrument drive donations Jose Castillo of New York Public Radio picks up the instrument drive donations (Kim Nowacki/WQXR)

WQXR listeners were extra generous in helping to bring the station's 10-day instrument drive to a strong finale on Monday night. The drive has netted more than 2,500 instruments, smashing the initial goal of 1,000.

Along with scores of flutes, guitars and clarinets, there were numerous offbeat bequests: a xylophone, a Chinese pipa, several accordions and mandolins. Family heirlooms and never-used items arrived in equal number.

The end of the collection period marks the start of the next phase, of refurbishing the instruments and distributing them to music programs in New York City public schools. Sam Ash Music Stores and the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation will continue to partner with WQXR in this process.

Graham Parker, WQXR's general manager, said he was surprised by the level of excitement behind the program. "I have been humbled by the personal stories that have accompanied many of the donations," he said. "It becomes very real for people to think of their once-used instrument making its way into the hands of a student who can create new memories."

At a time when news coverage about classical music has often been dominated by financial turmoil and audience troubles, the drive inspired a number of encouraging stories, in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and in several television reports.

"It's amazing the memories and personal weight people put on these instruments," said Jeff Spurgeon, speaking on WNYC's Soundcheck. The show hosted a call-in segment in which listener "Lee" talked about donating an electric guitar he found in Central Park; another listener, "Hal," gave an electric keyboard that was a Christmas present from his ex-wife:

Social Media response was also encouraging, with a daily outpouring of Tweets, according to WQXR.org producer Kim Nowacki. Below is a small sampling:

WQXR will continue to provide updates on the collection and distribution process in the months ahead. Below is a slideshow of listeners donating instruments at Rosamund Bar & Grill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday.

Kim Nowacki/WQXR
Donated instruments and the Bloody Mary bar at Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Brooklyn
Kim Nowacki
Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Brooklyn and Sixpoint Brewery partnered to host a special drop-off event for the WQXR Instrument Drive.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
An electric bass, guitar, a trombone and an amplifier are donated at Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Brooklyn


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Comments [10]

Lifesart from Queens

This Indiegogo campaign is trying to get money for instruments for the Bronx University Heights High School Music Program. I hope the QXR drive will help them!

Aug. 04 2014 03:05 PM
KJ from Princeton

I was lucky enough to have two surplus instruments to donate. What a great idea this was, I was thrilled to be able to participate. Thanks!

Apr. 10 2014 10:15 PM
Nancy Moster

I thought that I heard on the radio that some of the instruments would be given out in NJ. I have a granddaughter that is a junior in high school and plays the saxophone, but is taking lessons on the bassoon. It belongs to the school but if there is any chance that a bassoon is available, she would be so happy. She will be pursuing a music education career in college. She is the drum major in the marching band and is totally committed to her music career. She also plays in the concert, pit and jazz bands at school, as well as the chorus. She is a very good student, works hard and would be over the moon if there was a bassoon that she didn't have to return to the school.
Sincerely, Nancy Moster

Apr. 10 2014 09:52 PM
James Roe, Founding Member from 4 blocks from Lincoln Center

This was the antithesis of the "in your ear" offensive fundraising events,
which, I realize is necessary, but can it be made better by analyzing how
gratifyingly massive the collection was, and adapt it to the fundraisers....
don't ask me how, that's YOUR job!

Festive Congratulations to the donors, the station and to the "Greenest Radio
Event" I am aware of!

James Roe

Apr. 10 2014 05:10 PM
af from Nassau County, Long Island

Congratulations and thanks to WQXR for this highly successful drive! It's not exactly El Systema for NYC, but it's along the same lines, based on the same philosophy re: the value and power of music.

Hope you have more such drives in the future!

Apr. 09 2014 04:05 AM

Hi, I'm the guy who donated the keyboard mentioned in the article above. Just to set the record straight, the instrument didn't belong to my ex-wife, it was a Christmas present from my ex. I just didn't want it to sound like I was giving away something that didn't belong to me.

But I'm very happy to be donating it, and I really hope it will help introduce some eager student to the absolute wonder of making music. Though I wasn't able to learn piano back when I was a kid, I did go on to learn the cello, and played in the Louisville Youth Orchestra; the experience completely changed my life, very much for the better. And I hope every one of the instruments donated can give that same incredible experience to a deserving young person.

And, by the way, the ex and I are still very good friends. We still both live in the same building in Brooklyn, she's on the second floor, I'm on the third. And no, it's really not that awkward. In fact, some day it's going to make a very charming three-act play.

Apr. 08 2014 08:22 PM
Nikolaus Piper from Brooklyn

Thanks WQXR. The Instrument Drive was a wonderful idea. Is there any chance to know wo actually will play my clarinet?

Apr. 08 2014 05:51 PM
Susanna Levin from New Rochelle, NY

If listeners happen to dig up something they didn't realize they had, now that the drive is over, check with your local school system -- they may be grateful for the donation.

Apr. 08 2014 11:54 AM
Chizuko Mitsumoto from White Plains

I had wanted to sing songs for my first baby, strumming a guitar, like Joan Baez or Judy Collins. But I was so terrible that I couldn't even play a simple song. Then the baby came and I had no time to continue the lesson.
The guitar was nver touched ever since. My baby became a teenager and he played his electric guitar very well.

Apr. 08 2014 10:53 AM
Ed Tenthoff

Dear WQXR,
My wife Katherine and I want to thank you for running the Instrument Drive. We have held onto instruments, a flute and trumpet respectively, for years – reluctant to throw them away but not knowing what else to do with them. Your drive allowed us to part with the instruments with a feeling of satisfaction knowing they would be put to good use. I am sure many of your contributors feel the same way.

Apr. 08 2014 10:07 AM

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