Kansas City man continues to promote music in schools, donating dozens of instruments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- School is out for summer, but one Kansas City man is continuing with his mission to educate and inspire through music.

"When we talk about drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, violent crimes, music builds character. It requires you to be in control of yourself and your mind. Through studying music, it allows you to go into places you've never been. Not only self discipline, but character," said Darryl Chamberlain, creator of A-Flat Youth Orchestra.

Chamberlain says A-Flat Youth Orchestra began in 2016, following concerns about lack of musical programs in area schools.

From there, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Within three years, Chamberlain has purchased enough instruments to have two full concert bands, all with his own funds.

"I started out buying these on my own. I talked to some music instructors and said, 'I have a dream of building a youth orchestra.' They said, 'You need a lot of money to do that,'" Chamberlain said.

Now, the program is credited with providing more than 30 instruments for hundreds of students at Northeast Middle School -- and it's been a gateway for dozens more.

"When I was able to borrow a bass from Mr. Chamberlain, I started playing it more than I played video games. It's been real interesting to me," orchestra member Jelani Jtson-Duhart said.

"It kind of cool, and feels nice to get away from it all and play music," Jackson Winsett said.

Winsett has been a part of the A-Flat Orchestra since its inception. While learning and perfecting his drum skills, he's also watched the program evolve under Chamberlain's leadership.

"We hope to see kids exploring their dreams. That's really important. Where if a child dreams of being a musician, he should be," Chamberlain said.

Now, more than 30 students attend classes or participate in the youth orchestra.

The A-Flat Youth Orchestra is planning a big concert in the park this summer. The program is also currently accepting new students for its July session.

If you would like to help the orchestra, you can email Darryl Chamberlain directly at dcggc@mail.umkc.edu.

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