Play It Forward

Play it Forward Instrument Donation Drive ~ Saturday, March 11 from 11am – 5pm at Valley View Mall

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Some La Crosse school-age children don’t get a chance to play a musical instrument because their parents can’t afford to rent one or their school doesn’t have enough instruments to go around.

The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the La Crosse Area Youth Symphony Orchestras, the La Crosse School District, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse and the Franke Foundation, is trying to change that. The orchestra is starting a musical instrument donation program to gather gently used, playable instruments for La Crosse students.

The program, called “Play It Forward-La Crosse,” will kick-off on Saturday, March 11, with a drive at the Valley View Mall. People can donate instruments from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the mall.

“We know a lot of people have used instruments in good condition sitting around at home, and they or their children no longer play,” said Jean Ann Gundersen, who oversees the drive. “We want to put these instruments to good use and provide a musical experience for children who might not have the opportunity otherwise.”

The instruments will be donated to the school district’s instrument loan program and the Boys and Girls Club.

“The inventory of instruments in the school district gets low, and we want to help replenish the supply,” Gundersen said. “Some parents don’t have their child play an instrument because they can’t afford it. We want to remove that barrier.”

New this year, the LSO will have gently used instruments available for purchase from Leithold Music at the event. “We understand that not everyone has a used instrument that they want to donate, but they would still like to contribute to the program. We have gotten a list of needed instruments from the schools in the district and now community members can purchase a used instrument for the school of their choice,” Gundersen said. “Cash donations are also encouraged to establish a fund for the upkeep of these donated instruments. We want these instruments to last a very long time.”

Gundersen said violins will be offered to the Boys and Girls Club, and then lessons will be given there as part of the after-school program which attracts 500 area children.

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“Not all children are attracted to the sports programs, and an instrument program will expand the fine arts program on different levels,” Gundersen said.People can bring their used instruments to the mall during the Saturday drive or drop them off anytime at the Valley View Mall office or the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra office on the second floor of the US Bank building in downtown La Crosse. The orchestra is not accepting upright pianos or organs at this time.

People can bring their used instruments to the mall during the Saturday drive or drop them off anytime at the Valley View Mall office or the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra office on the second floor of the US Bank building in downtown La Crosse. The orchestra is not accepting upright pianos or organs at this time.

For more information, contact Tracy Gaskin at (608) 783-2121