Chattanooga and Hamilton County Proclaim October 1 “WSMC Play It Forward Day”

WSMC Classical 90.5, Southern Adventist University’s radio station, recently held the Play It Forward used instrument drive for inner-city schools; more than 135 pieces were donated and a grant from the McKenzie Foundation covered repair costs. On October 1, WSMC will be a part of two events officially turning these “new” instruments over to local music educators. In honor of the occasion, both Chattanooga and Hamilton County have declared October 1 as “WSMC Play It Forward Day.”

Seeds for this campaign were planted in 2012 as WSMC partnered with NPR’s “From the Top” radio program on a Chattanooga concert and arts education outreach effort. Students in many of the schools visited that week were hungry to learn but lacked the musical tools to put their enthusiasm into action. In January 2014, WSMC once again brought “From the Top” to town, but this time they had a bold vision two years in the making. By using the impressive geographic footprint of the station’s radio signal (100,000 watts reaching nearly 90 miles in all directions), WSMC would spread the word about this need.

WSMC announced the instrument drive and corresponding repair grant during its “From the Top” performance in front of 1,500 classical music lovers at the historic Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga. Shortly thereafter, this same message was being broadcast all across the Tennessee Valley. The results were immediate and lasting.

“It has been a joy to see people respond,” said Scott Kornblum, WSMC general manager. “I’ve been blessed from speaking with listeners who want to encourage young people to pursue the arts.”

Institutions being served by the refurbished instruments include Arnold Memorial Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts, East Lake Recreation Center, East Side Elementary, Northwest Elementary School, Orchard Nob Elementary, Orchard Nob Middle School, Polk County High School, and The Howard School.

The first public event surrounding the release of these newly available instruments begins at 10 a.m. at The Howard School. Principal Zac Brown will join WSMC staff, city and county administrators, and other arts advocates in the celebration. The second event takes place at East Lake Recreation Center at 5:30 p.m., where 11 guitars have been donated. Musicians from Chile and Norway are scheduled to perform and add an international flavor to this Chattanooga event.

For “WSMC Play It Forward Day,” the radio station is encouraging music lovers to use #WSMC on a variety of social media platforms as means to express gratitude for teachers, parents, and others who made music a special part of their lives. Selected Twitter and Facebook posts may be shared over the air.

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