How One Foundation Gives the Gift of Music to Children in Need

by Cassie Winterhalter on December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to you if you celebrate Christmas! Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a beautiful day and that you feel love in your heart and the joy of giving to others. I also hope that you and your loved ones are safe and happy today and everyday!

We are very fortunate here in the Washington, DC area. Schools are excellent, education is valued, and there are so many opportunities for people of all ages. I am especially fortunate that music and the arts are considered important by most and that so many children get to participate in their school music program and/ or take private lessons.

At our recitals I always like to thank the parents of our students for supporting music and the arts. I’m so grateful that my own parents found music to be important enough to allow me to take lessons as a child. Otherwise who knows what I would be doing these days instead of teaching and running my music school.

Unfortunately, many children are not as fortunate as I was, or as the students of Winterhalter Music are. In low income areas, families will always choose having a meal over paying for lessons or an instrument. While I obviously understand that this decision is one based on survival, it makes me sad that music education is not accessible to all kids. In my mind every child should have the chance to try playing an instrument while growing up. The benefits of playing an instrument and an education in music and the arts are so widespread– higher self confidence, stronger work ethic, greater self-motivation, and so on. Music lessons truly made a difference to me and to so many of the students in my music school. Of course I want every child to have that same opportunity.

I recently came across a really amazing non-profit organization that I’d like to highlight today in the spirit of giving. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation was started in 1996 by Michael Kamen, the composer of the film score for Mr. Holland’s Opus. This non-profit provides new and refurbished instruments to underprivileged school music programs. The families at these schools would be otherwise unable to afford instruments for their children to use. Approximately 4000 students per year benefit from these instruments. That’s simply amazing! In fact, 39 schools in DC, MD, and VA have been awarded a grant and received instruments. That really makes me smile.

If you have an instrument that you no longer need, you can donate it by going here. I’m personally making a monetary contribution on behalf of myself and Winterhalter Music. If this program speaks to you, I encourage you to do the same. Check out the video below for more information on the program.

Thanks so much for reading! Now I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below and tell me about any music and arts related non-profit organizations that are doing good in the world. Please subscribe to the newsletter and “like us” on Facebook if you haven’t already. Have a very very Merry Christmas!

With joy and gratitude.



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