Musical Instrument Drive Set

The Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund has been “quiet” for a while, but before long the sounds of music will hopefully fill the air.

Our board has been discussing the musical instrument needs of our students over the past few years. We know that over a number of years the school budget has not allowed for the regular maintenance and repair of instruments, or the routine addition of all the needed new ones. The total financial need is quite significant if the gap is to be filled. The backdrop is that music has always been so important for the Jamestown School District, as well as the city itself, and the various programs have been strong and well known over the years. We cheered when our high school band won state championships, marched in the Rose Bowl, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day and many other parades, and when our A’Cappella choir sang in major cathedrals in the United States and abroad. What an opportunity for our students. We also know that music is an integral part of learning, helping students’ attention, focus and overall well-being, and is related to their success in academic subjects. We felt it very important that instruments be made more available to the children in our district so that our strong tradition can continue.

With this in mind, the PROMISE fund, in collaboration with the Jamestown Public Schools Music Department and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) plans a Community Musical Instrument Drive on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jamestown High School. We suggest that cars use the bus turnaround in front of the school. Extra space will be available in the side parking lot if needed. Many hands will be on deck at tables set up to receive and tag the instruments and to gather contact information in order to send thank you letters from the PROMISE fund and the CRCF. Information for a tax deduction, if applicable, will be included. In lieu of an instrument or in addition, a financial donation will also be very welcome. Checks can be made out to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for the JPS PROMISE Fund. Any questions can be directed to

The Music Faculty is excited about this first of its kind drive in Jamestown. According to Meghan Murray, JHS band conductor, “The JPS Music Programs provide an invaluable opportunity for our students. It is our hope that this Community Instrument Drive might help provide instruments for students who may not otherwise be able to rent or buy, and thus are unable to join band or orchestra due to financial reasons.” Likewise, Katie Derrenbacher, the JHS orchestra director, states, “Our students have a greater need than ever for the support of our schools and our community. As music teachers, we focus on developing the right brain to balance the rigorous left brain work that occurs during the school day. Our students need the opportunity for creativity and development of their whole brain in order to help shape the whole child. Since the burden of purchasing or even renting can exclude the child from participating, we need our schools and community to step in and make this opportunity a real possibility for them.” The chair of the PROMISE fund board, John Zabrodsky, adds, “Music is part of the fabric of our community. In support of this great tradition of players and singers, we are asking friends, alumni and the community to help us gather musical instruments that may be taking up room in a closet or attic, so that our next generation can have the opportunity to participate in JPS’s great educational and musical programming.’

The PROMISE fund is very grateful for the partnership of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the JPS Music Program faculty, The Post-Journal and all others who will be joining our effort, as well as the many volunteers who are already helping in various ways. We recognize that collaboration is very important in any community work. Speaking for our valued partner, Tory Irgang, the Executive Director of CRCF, states, “The Community Foundation is pleased to partner with the Jamestown PROMISE Fund on this exciting project. This group of dedicated volunteers are playing an important role in assisting Jamestown Public Schools in enhancing the student experience.”

At the PROMISE Fund, we feel that supplying needed instruments may well make a huge difference in a student’s life, as well as raising the spirits of all the students, the school system and the community at large. Please join us in this effort. Making music can elevate everyone.

Lillian Vitanza Ney is the vice chair of the PROMISE Fund board.