More students in West Virginia will have the opportunity to get involved in school music programs with help from VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, the National Association of Music Merchants and the National Association for Music Education.
State Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith says, in the coming year, music outreach efforts will be expanded from 35 schools in 30 West Virginia counties to 45 schools in 36 counties.
In all, 1,900 West Virginia students will soon have access to free music instruments.
Reid-Smith says music education is important. “When I was growing up, music was all I really cared about and so having that music program, it was something for me to do. It kept me out of trouble and helped me do better in my other classwork,” he said.
Reid-Smith was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to accept the Support Music Award from the three national organizations.
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin were also recognized for their work to promote music education during a ceremony at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill.
The Shepherdstown Middle School Jazz Ensemble performed at the event.
“They played beautifully. Everybody was just totally impressed,” Reid-Smith told MetroNews. “They made West Virginia look fabulous.”
Chad Smith, the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bernie Williams, a Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and former New York Yankee, played with the students. Singer Vanessa Carlton also attended the ceremony.