Last month, 99.9 KTYD Morning Mojo’s Lin Aubuchon and Bill Pesso dedicated all of February to the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive. The on-air event raised awareness, celebrated SB Unified’s young aspiring musicians, and brought over $30,000 to support local school music programs.

However, the support wasn’t just monetary. During the radio event, SB Unified music teachers and local professional musicians like Glen Phillips and Zach Gill took to the airwaves to rally the community to donate used instruments collected at weekly drop-off events. The efforts resulted in 60 instruments, including Indian string instruments, accordions, cellos, and a piccolo that will go directly into the hands of students in SB Unified music programs.

Monroe Elementary Music Teacher Liz Caruso sees first-hand how exploring a new instrument can make all the difference for students. “When you give a student an instrument, you just never know how it will change them.  For the shyest of students, it can become their voice.”

Many of the donated instruments have often gone unused for years and typically need tuning or minor repairs before they are given a new life in school bands and elementary music classes. SBEF will use the Instrument Drive’s proceeds to get the instruments inspected, repaired, and ready for an SB Unified student musician to play.

“We are delighted with the response from our community to support music students during this challenging time,” said SBEF Executive Director Margie Yahyavi. “These funds will help ensure that our local students will have what they need to continue their musical learning.”

Since 2003, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has been keeping the beat for school music programs by raising funds to pay for music instruction and collecting instruments for local school music programs.