Band of Angels helps KC kids embrace their love of music

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Seven years ago, FOX 4 and Band of Angels partnered for our first instrument drive.  We collected about 300 musical instruments.

Now, more than 1,200 kids have band and orchestra instruments thanks to Band of Angels...and a lot of generous donations.

At only 13 years old, Ben Thorne's 6-foot frame screams "athlete", but his heart beats for the band.

Ben spent the summer mowing lawns to raise money for band camp.

"I wasn't making enough money, for it so I applied for a scholarship and got it. It was really cool," Ben said.

Band of Angels sent Ben to a week long camp at Washburn University.

"I love waking up in the morning being able to eat breakfast and immediately being able to learn to play some stuff that I never even knew how to play before," Ben added.

In fact, Band of Angels paid the way for 47 Kansas City kids to attend area camps.

Four to five applications a day reveal heart-wrenching stories of metro parents struggling with health and financial issues that make buying a band instrument impossible.

Mike Meyer and his family own Meyer Music. He helped found Band of Angels. "This is a story of kids whose parents were diagnosed with illness and all of a sudden everything in their house changed and all their finances changed. You have a good parent who wants to do things for the kids,but medically, its just not possible."

Folks like Rich Kirkpatrick hear the stories and respond by digging up their kids' old instruments and donating them to the cause. Rich brought in his son's old clarinet. It's laid silent for some time, but thanks to Band of Angels, soon it will be once again bringing music into the world.

"He played this instrument back in middle school. He played a few years and didn't play it anymore," Rich explained.

Band of Angels cleans and repairs the instruments and gets them to kids in need.

"Flute, clarinet, trumpet trombone, alto sax. Those are the big ones that we need. Violin, viola, cello those are the big ones on the orchestra side. We can use all of those," said Meyer.

And when the instruments are beyond repair, Band of Angels recruits artists to create masterpieces out of the parts.  Fountains, jewelry, sculptures all for sale at an event called "Art that Blows." Money raised from the sales of the art help kids like Ben get to camp.

And that deserves a drumroll, which Ben was happy to provide.

"I thank you Band of Angels, and I want to say that I will give back in the future what you gave," Ben said.

In the 7 years since Band of Angels started, they have delivered 1,200 instruments to 60 school districts in a 100-mile area around the metro and sent 107 kids to band camps.

If you would like to donate or apply for help, go to www.bandofangelskc.org