OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- In the seven years since the start of Band of Angels, the organization has donated 1,700 instruments to kids in 60 local school districts. Some of those kids have been in the program long enough to earn an upgrade.
Band of Angels collects instruments, fixes them up, and gives them to kids in need who want to join their school's band program.
Grayson Hawkins applied for a Band of Angels instrument in seventh grade.
"I was so excited. I applied and had to wait two weeks, and I only slept about four hours during that time." Now a senior, Grayson's french horn "Betty" rarely leaves his side. And boy, can he coax her to sing!
Andrea Morfin also know that music can change everything.
"When I was a child, I didn't find music that important, until I started playing an instrument."
Tyler Runyan received a clarinet through Band of Angels in elementary school.
"I wouldn't be able to do band without it. My whole friend group is in band. I look forward to it all day."
This summer, Band of Angels also gave Grayson, Andrea and Tyler scholarships to attend band camp. Grayson says, "Camp was the best experience of my life. Everything else pales in comparison."
But this may top even that. Because now these musicians are ready for a Band of Angels upgrade. Mike Meyer with Meyer Music started Band of Angels with FOX 4. Over the years, he has put on fundraisers and even purchased new instruments for some of the students who have proven their love for band.
"Tyler said she was the only student at camp that didn't have a wooden clarinet, so next year she is not going to have that problem," says Meyers. He is digging into his stash of instruments in the back room of the music store to surprise Tyler. As he marches out with the brand new clarinet, Tyler is nearly speechless. "I'm going to high school next year. It means a lot to have a better instrument."
"Betty" gets a tune up and a new mouth piece.
And Andrea has tears streaming down her face as Meyer places a brand new violin on the table in front of her. Andrea's love for music, birthed through a Band of Angels violin in 5th grade, has her composing her first symphony and dreaming of starting her own music program for kids someday.
As she begins to play, the difference in quality is obvious. Emotions flow down her cheeks with the music.
Meyer listens, fighting to contain his own tears. "Students excel when they have the right equipment."
And now they do. Enough to play through school, earn scholarships and inspire futures.
You can drop of used instruments at any Meyer Music location, or make a financial contribution at the Band of Angels website.