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Detroit Symphony Orchestra asks for new and used instruments for Detroit students

Sadie Hernandez

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in collaboration with community organizations is collecting 2,500 new and used instruments for K-12 students in Detroit.

The instrument drive runs through the end of October with drop-off sites located across Michigan, according to a release from the DSO. Used instruments collected will be refurbished before going to students.

The drive is the first initiative by Detroit Harmony, a citywide effort composed of the DSO and other arts nonprofits, schools, community organizations and city leaders, which aims to strengthen music education for children in Detroit.

"We're about music education for every kid in Detroit,” said Damien Crutcher, managing director of Detroit Harmony. “The instrument drive is a good place to start."

Drop off sites include the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, A & G Central Music, Cliff Bell’s, Detroit Wayne Music Studio, Marshall Music Co., McCourt’s Music, Meridian Winds, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and select PNC Bank locations. Drop-off locations can be found on the DSO’s website.

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University’s marching bands will team up at their October 30 football game to collect instruments at Spartan Stadium as well.

This is the first initiative run by Detroit Harmony, Crutcher said. He said the formation of Detroit Harmony has been in the works for three years but in the last year he had been “building the infrastructure to make it real.”

Detroit Harmony is starting with getting kids instruments, Crutcher said, but beyond the drive it aims to connect students to music groups, lessons and other opportunities for music education.

For Crutcher, the initiative is personal too. He began playing the French horn at Cass Technical High School in Detroit going on to study music at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He taught music for years and conducted

“Music education has made me who I am today,” Crutcher said. “…I just want to make sure that all of our students have those same opportunities. It’s important to me.”

Pianos or organs are not accepted without previously contacting Detroit Harmony staff, according to the release. Questions can be directed to various drop-off locations or Detroit Harmony staff.

Sophia Kalakailo joined Michigan Radio in Sept. 2021 and is a senior at Michigan State University studying journalism and minoring in documentary production. She previously interned at Bridge Michigan and was an editor for The State News and The Eastern Echo covering a wide range of topics.
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