Community Music School, Springfield Public Schools ‘Play It Forward’

Aug. 11, 2016 | Chris Goudreau

SPRINGFIELD – The Community Music School Springfield (CMSS) and Springfield Public Schools have partnered in a new program called “Play It Forward,” which accepts musical instrument donations for students in the city.

“Play It Forward is a wonderful way to support children in Springfield who can participate in their school's band or string program because of the donation of instruments to the school,” CMSS Executive Director Eileen McCaffery told Reminder Publications.

She added the new initiative will accept instrument donations from Aug. 15 to 20 at Big Y’s throughout the area, including locations in East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, the Big Y on Cooley Street in Springfield, Chicopee, Wilbraham, and the Big Y on East Main Street in Westfield. Used instruments can also be dropped off at CMSS at 127 State Street and the Schools Parent Engagement Center.

A list of instruments that could be donated include wind instruments such as trumpet, saxophone, trombone, French horn, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, tuba, and flute, and stringed instruments, including guitar, viola, violin, cello, and bass.

McCaffery said the goal is to collect 250 instruments through the donation drive by supporting band and string programs from elementary to high school grade levels in the city. The instruments will be distributed to students in partnership programs between CMSS and schools in the city at the start of the school year.

The used instruments will also be refurbished by Gerry’s Music in South Hadley for students, she stated.

“The Play it Forward Instrument Drive is directly supporting the growth and expansion of music education in Springfield,” she noted.

She added CMSS and Springfield Public Schools have collaborated in the past with Sondio Musica – an award winning middle school band and string program that won the Yale Distinguished Music Educators award in 2015.  

Eileen’s daughter, Mia Cuda, a senior at Deerfield Academy secured a grant to promote awareness for the program.

“Mia wrote a grant at Deerfield Academy requesting support for marketing materials to raise awareness for the need for instruments in support of Springfield Public Schools’ music programs,” McCaffery explained. “Play It Forward was given a great boost through the generosity of Michele and Donald D’Amour who have offered several Big Y stores as drop off locations across Greater Springfield.”

McCaffery said she plans to continue the program in the future.

Instruments in any usable condition will be accepted. The drive will not be able to accept pianos, organs or drum sets. For more information about Play it Forward, call CMSS at 732-8428.

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