06/08/09

Rex Jam Helps Kids Make Music

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Last summer the New Riders of the Purple Sage played a Rex Jam at the Gathering of the Vibes music festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For a Rex Jam, musicians specify a tune or “jam” during which Rex volunteers circulate throughout the audience collecting donations, in the process connecting the music community to local grassroots programs that benefit the arts.

On Saturday afternoon, August 2, at Gathering of the Vibes, Rex collected $2,167 to benefit local school music departments whose programs have been devastated by budget cutbacks. While the amount collected was modest, it was collected in only 20 minutes during a near show-stopping thunder and lightening storm.

<p>Thanks to donations collected during a Rex Jam at Gathering of the Vibes, eight kids in Bridgeport, Connecticut are now the Thomas Hooker School Band.</p>

Thanks to donations collected during a Rex Jam at Gathering of the Vibes, eight kids in Bridgeport, Connecticut are now the Thomas Hooker School Band.

And the effects were anything but modest. Tania Kelley, Director of the Bridgeport Public Schools Performing Arts Department, used the funds to purchase new musical instruments (four flutes, three clarinets, and one trumpet) that made it possible for eight first-time musicians to play in the new Thomas Hooker School Band.  The band made its public debut by marching proudly in Bridgeport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, an appearance noted and praised in an article in the Connecticut Post (“Still Green, Band Making Its Debut,” Connecticut Post, March 16, 2009).

Harry Moran, Outreach Director for Gathering of the Vibes, told Rex that the idea of including a jam “€œcompletely resonated” with the spirit of the festival. “We are very aware of the poor state of school music programs,” he said, “and we were glad to help Rex support a local Bridgeport band.”

Moran shared with us this letter he recently received from Ms. Kelley.

April 1, 2009

Mr. Harry Moran
Sustainability & Outreach Director
Gathering of the Vibes
P. O. Box 447
Galway, NY  12074

Re: Rex Foundation

Dear Mr. Moran:

The Bridgeport Public Schools  Performing Arts Department is pleased to announce the purchase of eight brand new band instruments!   We were able to supply eight students with the opportunity to play in a band for the very first time.  Your donation of $2,167.00 was received at the end of August and spent at Washington Music Sales Center, Inc.  The four flutes, three clarinets, and one trumpet were played in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade by students in the Thomas Hooker School Band.  A news article was written on the band promoting the first time the school has had a band in a long time.  Your donation has truly made this possible.

On behalf of the entire school district and the performing arts staff, we truly appreciate all you do to promote the arts. This donation was used to advance the instrumental program in our district.

Thank you again for your generosity and support of the arts.

Sincerely,

Tania Kelley
Director of Performing Arts
Bridgeport Public Schools