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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.
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I play trumpet in my school band and I am so glad you care about music as much as I do.
-- Elementary school student

Spring for Music Opportunities Fund

Just where do your old musical instruments go?

In Rochester, hundreds of donors have chosen to donate them to city school students through REF's Spring for Music program. The generosity of these donors has created great opportunities for city students. Since the program's launch in 2005, more than 1000 musical instruments have been donated from throughout Monroe County, New York state and beyond.

More information about the program is below.

Spring for Music Opportunities Fund

In November 2013, REF launched a Music Fund to provide additional musical opportunities for city students. Thus the Spring for Music Opportunities Fund was born. The Fund supports providing musical instruments and resources for students; making it possible for city students to attend local and regional music competitions and performances; and matching unique student musical needs with donor resources.

The Fund supports a range of performance opportunities. This includes

singing in the Holiday Chorale performance with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, along with other students throughout the area. Prior to 2013, the city school student participation had diminished greatly - even though this holiday concert is a showcase for young musicians and takes place in our city center. In 2013, REF paid for buses to take students home from the practices and performances, dinner for the students and even clothing needed for the performance. Music educator Liz Hannan told us: "Thank you! The opportunity to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is once in a lifetime."

REF will be supporting this once again in 2014.

In 2014-2015 REF will also be supportingthe first "All-City" performance at the Eastman Theatre through the music fund. In the past, the All-City music groups have not been able to perform together due to lack of space in the schools.

The Fund also supports the purchase of instruments. It has donated 17 digital keyboards for the extended-day program at School 9, and donated guitars for a guitar club at School 35, and beautiful wooden xylophones for students at School 3.

Then there's the summer music lessons for students at Hochstein School of Music and the Eastman Community Music School. This is supported thanks to city school music teachers raising funds through wonderful musical concerts during the year.

Finally, there is the college opportunity fund, through which REF provides musical support for college-bound students, including the purchase of musical instruments for students in need.

REF is working with music teachers to identify and support talented RCSD student musicians, whether they need their own musical instrument to keep pace with their maturing talent or to audition for  a college music program or to participate in special music activities over the summer. We hope to do much more in the future.

If you are a Rochester City School District educator with a student who has specific musical challenges REF supporters might be able to address, please contact REF at 271-5790 or

Spring for Music Program

The Spring for Music program is the foundation for REF's work to expand musical opportunities. Since 2008, REF has had a booth for collecting instruments at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, thanks to the generosity of M&T Bank.

Donated instruments
Photo: Richard Margolis


Spring for Music was created because many students who wanted to play an instrument were not able to do so due to limited instruments available in city schools. Our initial goal in 2005 was to work with community partners to receive 250 used musical instruments, and the funds to fix them. By the time the campaign ended, we had received more than 400 instruments! By the start of school, the instruments were ready to be lent to Rochester City School students through the school's instrumental music program.

We are pleased that we continue to receive instruments to be donated to the Rochester City School District to be used by students.

To donate an instrument, we encourage you to contact REF at 271-5790 or You can receive a tax deduction for a donated instrument. More importantly, you will know that through your generosity a city school student who might not have had the chance to play an instrument will discover the joy of music. We also welcome funds to support general support of the Spring for Music program, and encourage organizations to coordinate special events, such as concerts, to benefit the program.

Music student
Photo: Ken Huth


Many donated instruments have a story. One woman said: "Though it has aged some and the surface is speckled, this flute still shines bright in my memory. Music has sustained my life in so many ways."

That sentiment has also been expressed by students who told us of their love of music, their devotion to practice and their eagerness to succeed in life. As one School 17 elementary school student wrote, "With your help, I will be successful playing the viola in a big concert one day."

Support the Program


Use the button at right to make a donation in support of REF and the Spring for Music program.

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