Monday, August 3, 2020
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Condo fire kids need clarinets etc.

A middle school teacher from Park Ridge, Illinois, is trying to round up some musical instruments to help students whose families lost all their worldly possessions in a fire at their condo in Prospect Heights, the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate reports.

Bryan Itzkowitz has been the band director Holmes Middle School in Wheeling since 2005, and because of a low-income percentage of higher than 60 percent at that school, he is always asking for tax-deductible donations of gently used musical instruments.

The HMS Band Sponsorship Program was set up to aid those families who cannot afford to rent an instrument. In addition to monetary donations, we also welcome donations of band instruments, including flutes, clarinets, oboes, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, baritones, tubas, percussion instruments, and drum sets. Monetary donations of any amount help refurbish donated instruments that are not playable so that they can be loaned to a student from a low-income family.

But this summer, the fire in a neighboring community drew his attention.

“I’m looking to collect band and orchestra instruments that are not being used,” he was quoted as saying. “If there’s a parent of a kid who doesn’t use their instrument anymore, I’m looking to put it to good use to help some of the families who were affected.

“I want to collect as many [instruments] as I can, so we have them when the kids need them. We run into this kind of issue all the time: Parents want to give their kids the opportunity to play an instrument, but they also want to give their kids food at night.”

Hundreds of people were displaced by a massive condominium complex fire in the 800-block of McIntosh Court on July 18, according to news reports, and many residents lost everything.

“Everything, everything. Whatever I have on now plus this,” WLS-TV (ABC affiliate) quoted one resident as saying, as she held up a set of keys. “That’s all I have. And my children, thank god for that. I got my babies, but other than that, the clothes on our backs is all we have.”

As of last week, Mr Itzkowitz had reportedly collected a few flutes, a trumpet, and two violins. A few more instruments are expected; many more are needed.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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