Give the Gift of Music to Under-Served Students

Aug 4, 2010

A Year of Impact


In the 2009/2010 fiscal year The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation awarded 1,077 musical instruments valued at $2,124,058 to 83 music programs nationwide, serving 11,394 students. Additionally, MHOF donated 171 musical instruments worth $250,866 to 10 schools affected by Hurricane Katrina, serving 3,188 students. These instruments, over their lifetime, will continue to keep music alive for generations of students.

Below a first-time donor shares her story with us.

This morning I mailed my son's clarinet with the prayer that it be used to introduce another child to the wonder of creating music.

A victim of the current economic downturn, I found myself unemployed. I am blessed to have secured another job quickly, but this change also requires considerable downsizing! While acknowledging this terribly difficult process, my children keep reminding me that this is only "stuff". They are so right! I treasure the memories made with all my "stuff", but I realize that there is another path for my life and will follow where I am led.

My son played this clarinet in both middle and high schools. It has traveled the country with an award-winning high school marching band, played for presidents and Mickey Mouse, from the Orange Bowl to Disneyland, as well as countless competitions and half-time shows. While my son no longer plays this musical instrument, our wish is that another child will experience the joy of creating music and that another mother will also treasure musical memories!

Thank you for the opportunity to share this clarinet with another budding musician.

Sally Samuel, Winter Park, FL

Below is a message from a band director thanking The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation for the instruments donated to her school.

I wish you could have been here to see the arrival and opening of the instruments! The principal came running to find me, saying a huge FedEx truck was here with something from MHOF, picking up students as he came. When we saw that the first delivery was from the Yamaha company, we couldn't get those boxes in the school fast enough. One boy said "This is just like Christmas, only better." And it didn't matter who was going to get the privilege of playing the instruments - our kids just felt proud and thrilled that someone cared enough about them to provide these instruments for their band.

Jessie, the young man who is playing the double French horn said he had only had one better day in his whole life, and that was the day he received a guitar. Our high school band sounded richer and fuller immediately upon using the 4-valve tuba, the double horn and the new trumpet. Even the students could hear the difference. Then came the abundance of other instruments! Most of these have been assigned to high school players, but 2 clarinets and an open-hole flute have gone to members of the middle school band. My first chair flute in the high school band has been waiting 2 years, trying to save for an open-hole flute. When we saw the reconditioned Gemeinhardt, with a low Bb foot joint no less, I cried and she didn't stop smiling for the whole day. She takes that home every night and practices, learning new notes that weren't playable on her student flute.

I also have the privilege of seeing many students who were "fighting" with their instruments because they were in such bad shape achieve music never possible before. Now they can play music appropriate to their age and experience and sound great at the same time! These students truly deserve these instruments; it's fulfilling for me that you have recognized that fact.

I have received so many notes and comments from community members and other Walkerville students who aren't in the band, expressing their pride in our bands and our school. We so need that! Thank you for providing the impetus for that pride.

You are doing fantastic work there! Please let me encourage you. You're changing many lives in many ways you don't even realize. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


Patricia Root, Band Director, Walkerville Elementary, Walkerville, MI

To read more stories from people across the country touched by music, follow the link below.

We couldn't do it without you!



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Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation

Studio City, CA, United States

Project Leader

Natalia Hernandez

Administrative Assistant
Studio City, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Give the Gift of Music to Under-Served Students