You've definitely heard about the distribution deals, lawsuits and latest products from manufacturers in the pages of the Music & Sound Retailer. But what gets much less press is all of the great things manufacturers do for their communities, and for society in general. That's why we started this column two years ago and have continued it every year. This story is your one-stop shop for the great things manufacturers do. Who says the press only covers bad news? We will present the information in no particular order. Enjoy.
Let's start with Korg, which provided gear for the charity Guitars Not Guns. The charity's focus is to provide guitars and lessons to foster children, at-risk youth and other children. Guitars Not Guns' mission is to combat violence and other self-destructive behaviors with guitars. Qualified teachers instruct children in a classroom setting. Lessons last eight weeks and are taught in a fun atmosphere. Students learn to care for and tune their instruments. Korg twice specifically donated a variety of handheld guitar tuners that students were able to keep to several of the charity's California chapters. Guitars Not Guns continues to grow throughout the United States and Canada.
Last month, we ran a story in the Music & Sound Independent Retailer column about Zan, who bought Serious Lee guitarist Sean Sabo a $3,300 Orange Rockerverb amp at Mantova's Two Street Music in Eureka, Calif. Zan was staying at a hotel across the street from the store where Sabo was playing his guitar, and wondered what the racket was. Zan listened to Sabo play and decided to buy him that amp. Well, Lava Cables donated a $75 Lava Retro Coil that matches the amp perfectly. Lava CEO Mark Stoddard contacted us and said he jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the "Miracle on Second Street," where the store is located.
For the third year in a row, Yamaha employees and friends joined forces to help raise funds to combat type 1 juvenile diabetes. This year, 30 Yamaha-affiliated runners participated in the Southern California Half Marathon and 5K runs in Irvine. The effort raised $6,000 to support the Trial Net program at Children's Hospital in Orange County, which undertakes diabetes research. Yamaha has raised a total of $25,000 earmarked for the program, which aims to reveal the disease's causes, identify preventative measures and, ultimately, find a cure. Katrina Jewell, daughter of David Jewell, marketing manager for Yamaha Drums, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes five years ago. Now 18, she is an outpatient at the hospital. "Every year, more and more people have come out to participate and I think it shows the type of quality employees that we have at Yamaha," Jewell said. "They've recruited others, too, so we have people who don't know Katrina and don't know anyone who has juvenile diabetes, but who are willing to participate. It's very heartening."
Fender employees performed music by The Beatles during "With a Little Help from My Friends," a Fender Band Jam concert that benefited The Fender Music Foundation and Ear Candy Charity. The event took place on Oct. 22 at Phoenix's Compound Grill. A $5 minimum donation was collected per guest. Raffle tickets were also sold for $5. Among the items raffled was a gold sparkle Gretsch electric guitar. "It seems like every day the budget for a school's music program is taken away, and it has been our mission to address this sad situation," Moriah Harris-Rodger, executive director of The Fender Music Foundation, said. "We are grateful to Fender for supporting music education programs and for selecting The Fender Music Foundation as a beneficiary of its band jam."
In March, C.F. Martin & Co. teamed up with Jimmy Buffett's charity, Singing for Change (SFC). The company donated 15 LX Martin Guitars to the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School in Haiti. "When Jimmy Buffett reached out to us directly and expressed interest in donating all royalties from the LX Jimmy Buffett guitar to SFC, we knew without hesitation that this was a great way to give back to the international community and encourage music education," said company CEO Chris Martin. "Additionally, our previous involvement and contributions to Guitars for the Troops, which benefits troops serving in Iraq, encouraged us to team up again with another great organization with the common goal of benefiting the lives of the brave men and women protecting and serving our country overseas."
SFC's goal is to improve the "quality of life for people and empower individuals make positive changes in the communities." Buffett presented the schools with the instruments in late March.
Martin also donated five guitars to the SHARE Initiative at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. The Shepherd Center specializes in treatment, rehabilitation and research for people with spinal cord or brain injuries. The center also houses the Share Initiative, which was founded by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot.
Martin Guitar additionally donates to the Martin Foundation and Guitars in the Classroom. The company donated several guitars to Parents and Children Together, a nonprofit family service agency, in conjunction with the grand opening of the Hard Rock Café in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Burriss Amps and Q Lighting helped to implement Blues in the School programs in the Lexington, Ky., area. Blues in the Schools integrates teaching of history, songwriting and playing of the blues into history, drama, dancing, art and music classes.
Shure continually supports The School Tour, which exposes inner-city youth to the power of live musical performances. "Our company is dedicated to partnering with worthwhile initiatives like The School Tour," says Shure President and CEO Sandy LaMantia. "We believe in the power of music and we're honored to be playing even a small part in this program, which is changing lives and making a positive impact on inner-city kids."
Shure has donated handheld wireless systems and SM58 microphones to The School Tour, which was founded in 2004 by Randy Hawkins. The charity primarily serves the greater Los Angeles area. "I can't say enough about Shure and their commitment to giving back to programs like ours," said The School Tour's Jud Nestor. "We went from taped-together scraps of mics to the best of the best, and you can hear the difference. These young artists are now performing with top-of-the-line professional gear. It's durable, it's reliable and it just sounds great. We're so grateful to Shure for making it happen."
Rane Corporation is heavily involved in its local Mukilteo, Wash., community. The company supports its local food bank and holds food and cash donation drives twice a year. Pictured is when Rane collected more than 500 boxes of cereal in less than a week. Rane also supports a local Toys for Tots program and is a lead sponsor of music and drama events at local middle and high schools. The company made a 10-year commitment to help build a YMCA in Mukilteo.
Thomas McCoy, owner and inventor of Microphome, has formed its "Make Nice" program, where the company donates to needy causes. McCoy hosts an annual breast cancer benefit concert in his hometown of Warren, Ohio. All proceeds are donated to the Ireland Cancer Center at Trumbull Memorial Hospital. Sadly, McCoy's wife, Vicki, passed away of breast cancer 14 years ago. She was a registered nurse. This year, the event will take place on Sept. 4. The concert will move from a club to a larger venue: Packard Music Hall. Last year, the breast cancer event raised $6,000. This year, McCoy told us he hopes to double that amount.
Taylor Guitars supports a host of causes. Among them is Taylor Guitars for Schools. With the help of the San Diego Music Foundation, the program seeks to introduce guitar to public elementary-school music curricula in San Diego County. The program is extremely important because it augments existing programs and helps offset the loss of arts in schools due to budget cuts. Since its inception in 2000, the Guitars for Schools program has placed more than 1,600 guitars in about 100 San Diego County schools. The San Diego Music Foundation hopes to donate an additional 200 guitars to local elementary and high schools.
For the past three years, Taylor has expanded its efforts far beyond its local community. The company has donated many guitars to USO, which get in the hands of service members serving overseas. Recently, Taylor donated 25 SolidBody guitars to USO that were forwarded to operating bases throughout Iraq. "We thank Taylor Guitars for their generous donation to our centers," said Cathy Martens, USO vice president of corporate alliance. "This donation will allow us to continue our mission of serving troops and their families while adding a nice piece of home."
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Alfred Music Publishing has been a longtime contributor to many causes. Among them is the Alfred Cares initiative, a program that promotes environmental conservation through changes the company has made to save trees, electricity and water. The initiative began early 2009. Since then, the company has produced 813,000 units (more than 100 million pages) on 100 percent recycled paper. That amounts to about 95 percent of books and music the company has published during that period. Also, more than 225,000 DVDs have been produced using 100 percent recycled packaging. "Even in the most difficult economic times, a company still has a responsibility to protect the environment from waste," said Ron Manus, Alfred CEO. "We hope that the humble effects of our own changes will inspire other companies to do the same. Collectively, the difference our industry can make for the world is astounding."
In February, Alfred teamed with TuneCore to create Alfred Records, a new way for schools to raise money and increase awareness for their school programs by providing a way to record and sell their music on iTunes and other digital music stores. Any school—whether it be public or private—or a school music group can now record performances and sell them via TuneCore across major digital retail platforms. To participate, school music programs can visit www.alfred.com/alfredrecords.
But that's not all. Speaking of schools, Alfred donated music books and sheet music to many school districts in an effort to combat slashed music budgets. In addition, Alfred offered to match all Japan relief donations made by employees at the company's global offices. Alfred has already sent thousands of dollars to the American Red Cross. At that time a couple of months ago, Manus wrote this to Alfred employees: "What is happening over there is beyond horrible. Continuing our caring tradition of helping others facing catastrophe, Alfred Music Publishing will dollar-for-dollar match your Japan charitable donation to the American Red Cross over the next week."
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Daisy Rock founder Tish Ciravolo has long been a champion of several charitable causes. The company supported the Keep A Breast Foundation by donating a Rock Candy Standard in Atomic Pink that was auctioned off at this year's South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. "Breast cancer awareness is so important to me and I'm so thrilled I can help by donating a guitar to this awesome organization," said Ciravolo. The Keep A Breast Foundation's mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.
Daisy Rock also sponsored the Girls Rock Austin Showcase (GRA) at SXSW. Not only did the company contribute to the event, but it also booked The Bangles and Sick of Sarah to perform at the Cedar Street Courtyard on March 17. GRA is dedicated to mentoring girls ages 10 to 18.
Daisy Rock additionally donated a Wildwood Artist Deluxe in Bleach Blonde to help a musician in need as part of MusicCares' outreach program. MusicCares provides critical assistance for those related to the music industry in times of need. Financial, medical and personal emergencies are among the things the charity covers.
SANYO teamed up with First Friday Music Club to offer educational support to a Point Loma, San Diego, middle school. The partnership encompassed Sanyo donating products and company-sponsored professional music and video production workshops for the middle school students. The event took place at Correia Middle School in November. Sanyo donated 10 Dual Cameras, which are currently being used by the school's video production and yearbook staff. Sanyo also sponsored two educational workshops for the school's students. "The opportunity to work with the Sanyo crew and the Sanyo equipment was irreplaceable!" said Correia teacher John Snedden. "Receiving the new equipment was 'like Christmas' for the students, and the opportunity to work in an environment outside of the normal four walls of the classroom changed the perception students had of how learning happens."
"Sanyo values education, and we support our local communities where we do business," said Sam Murata, president of Sanyo North America Corporation. "The future lies with today's youth, so it is important that they have access to educational opportunities that allow them to improve their skills. We believe an opportunity like this can help shape their future."
Zildjian recently formed a relationship with the Music & Youth Initiative, an after-school music education program for underserved Massachusetts youth, ages 8-18. The Music & Youth Initiative partners with the inner city Boys & Girls Club and Berklee College of Music. The goal is to use music to improve academic, social and vocational skills while building self-confidence and self-esteem. More than 1,500 youths visit Music Clubhouses on a weekly basis. Zildjian provides all the cymbals for the Music Clubhouse program.
"The Music Clubhouse is changing lives one note at a time. The Zildjian Company's generosity in donating equipment and opening its factory to our students for tours has had a significant, positive impact on these young people," said Gary Eichhorn, executive director of the Music & Youth Initiative. According to Ayeisha Mathis, Zildjian artist and music director at the Dorchester Music Clubhouse, "I was introduced to Zildjian cymbals as a child, so it's been great to be able to expose the youth at the Dorchester Music Clubhouse to professional-quality equipment."
Zildjian charitable efforts have also reached beyond Massachusetts. Far beyond. The company donated cymbals to the Ouidah International Center For Art and Music (CIAMO) in Benin, Africa. CIAMO offers music and art classes taught by resident and international professionals. It is the first school of its kind in Benin. Zildjian also formed the Kerope Zildjian Scholarship Competition, named in honor of the person at the helm of the company from 1895 to 1909. The competition winner receives a $5,000 scholarship, a selection of cymbals and an all-expenses-paid trip to Zildjian headquarters.
The Massachusetts company awards additional scholarships via the Avedis Zildjian Scholarship Fund, which has been won by students from top colleges and conservatories throughout the world. The Zildjian Family Opportunity Fund is a permanently endowed trust that provides funding for percussion-based presentations directed to underserved youth. This is done in conjunction with the Percussive Arts Society (PAS). A PAS Armand Zildjian Percussion Scholarship is also awarded.
But that's not all. Zildjian supports other charities, including the Music Cares Foundation, The Rhythmic Arts Project and VH1's Save the Music Foundation.
D'Addario is involved with several campaigns. Chief among them is the Make it Here program. This is the first time D'Addario has publicized this program. CEO Jim D'Addario established an internal team of experts to analyze the company's portfolio of outsourced products and assessed the feasibility of producing more products in the United States. D'Addario now produces 92 percent of its products in the U.S., which the company says creates job opportunities for Americans. "We are proof positive that America can manufacture globally competitive products of extremely high quality," said D'Addario. "We will continue to look for more opportunities to build our products in America by looking for innovative ways to re-engineer our designs for higher quality and ease of manufacture. This is a win-win scenario, and the wonderful by-product is the creation of real employment opportunities in the U.S.A."
D'Addario's Charitable Works Committee donates about $1,000 worth of products to Operation Happy Note annually. The charity sends donated instruments and accessories to troops around the world. The Charitable Works Committee also supports Rock Out Autism, which funds autism research. In addition, D'Addario is supporting Students Rockin' for a Reason for the second straight year. The charity raises money to be used for breast cancer research.
The D'Addario Music Foundation contributed to the "Guitar Heroes—Legendary Craftsman from Italy to New York" exhibit at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. For some more about that exhibit, see this month's Music & Sound Independent Retailer section.
Another charitable cause D'Addario champions is the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Its mission is to provide children and teens with a complete education in music, dance and theater in a caring and encouraging environment. Also, D'Addario supports Education through Music, which was founded to promote the integration of music into the curricula of disadvantaged schools in order to enhance students' academic performance and general development.
Remo co-sponsored the fourth-annual Drum Day Giveaway in South Central Los Angeles on Dec. 26. Several Remo artists were on hand, including Leon Mobley, to support the community and perform. Mobley gave out thousands of dollars worth of drums to support music making and to give back to the community.
IK Multimedia announced it would send a donation of $5 toward Japanese relief efforts for each sale and registration of these products: SampleTank 2.5 XL, Miroslav Philharmonik, Sonik Synth 2, SampleTron and SampleMoog. The promotion began on April 1 and runs through May 31. IK Multimedia is making a separate $5,000 donation, as well.
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