Horace Mann Middle School band
Brandon, Florida -- Inside the band room at Horace Mann Middle School, there's a story behind every note.
"Some of the instruments are over 50 years old," says band director Kevin Fuller.
Some of them the school district pays for. For others, the band department helps raise money and director Kevin Fuller gets the best deals he can from pawn shops and the Internet.
"It's so cool to see the excitement on the kids' faces," Fuller says, "because they have an instrument that's theirs that they can play."
But these days, it's harder to afford them. That's where the Gasparilla Music Festival, which brings dozens of bands to downtown Tampa on March 9, isn't missing a beat.
"We've heard so much about budget cuts and teachers and music programs being cut," GMF executive director Ty Rodriguez says. "Everyone seems to be a music lover and they always kind of have that one instrument that they kind of hold on to because they just don't want to give it away."
That's why the festival decided to give away tickets in exchange for those tired instruments through a program called Recycled Tunes. Don Banks Music in South Tampa will be fixing the instruments for free before donating them to Hillsborough County schools.
"There are kids out there that want to play that simply can't because they can't afford to," says Mitchel Banks, owner of Don Banks Music. "It's nice that there's some way that we can give them the chance to play because every kid deserves a chance."
"To watch [students] put the math together -- counting rhythms is nothing but math -- to put their reading skills together to be able to read the music and make it all blend, it's just truly amazing," Fuller adds.
Don Banks Music will be accepting instrument donations through mid-March. It's located at 3628 Henderson Boulevard in Tampa.
This is the second year for the Gasparilla Music Festival. The lineup features Best Coast, The Meter Men, Dr. Dog, Lord Huron, and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears among other acts. This is the first year that the festival paired with Don Banks Music for Recycled Tunes.
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