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April 6, 2018

Newport Festivals Foundation donated $20K worth of instruments to four schools in the Pawtucket School District: Goff, Jenks, and Slater Middle School and Tolman High School. For some of these schools, these instruments will be the first they own. We would like to thank Rick’s Musical Instruments for supporting this donation with discounted pricing and free travel cases. Also, we would like to thank all of you. This is your support in action.

Below is a message from the Pawtucket School Department:

Call it music to their ears.

Thanks to the Newport Festivals Foundation and individual donors, Pawtucket students now have access to several more instruments – including guitars, saxophones, tubas and other wind instruments – that they’re able to play during band rehearsal and class, and also bring home to practice with.

Lyman B. Goff, Joseph Jenks and Samuel Slater middle schools as well as William E. Tolman High School received several donations from the organization, providing the gift of music to schools that do not have the funds to purchase new instruments.

Superintendent Patti DiCenso, who spoke at a presentation of the instruments on April 5, said, “It’s not just about music education, it’s about changing people’s lives. Music will change your life … It will also prepare you for things that you didn’t expect it to prepare you for.”

“Support from an organization as well known as the Newport Festivals Foundation doesn’t just impact a student’s learning, it impacts a student’s life,” she said.

Donald Dupre, band director and teacher at Goff, said students were thrilled when they caught word of the donations, and were lining up asking to play the instruments. At the presentation ceremony held at Goff, Dupre said school officials are working to further build on the music program in the district, and these donations make that possible.

“It’s very clear that they care about the music programs,” Dupre said of the foundation, thanking the organization for its gratitude.

Goff Principal Lisa Ramzi said watching students fall in love with their instruments is particularly special, and said the music program continues to expand.

“I’ve watched these kids grow, and I’ve watched them develop into the musicians that they are and it just blows me away every single time,” she said.

Soon, Ramzi said with a laugh, the school will need a bigger stage.

Jay Sweet, executive producer of Newport Festivals Foundation, was teary-eyed after a student hugged him at the event and told him she always wanted an instrument of her own. Sweet said it’s so important for students to have the tools they need to express themselves, and in this case, that means taking instruments home to practice and experiment.

“That is what is going to make the next Miles Davis,” he said with a smile.

The world, Sweet said, needs more artists, and music builds community.

After the ceremony, Supt. DiCenso said, “Music is a gateway to a world of art, to career opportunity and to an exploration of the mind. Music stirs our souls. On behalf of our entire community, I want to personally thank the Newport Festivals Foundation for its support. It is greatly appreciated.”

As for Pawtucket School Department’s music program?

“We are just beginning here,” she said.


Your donation to Newport Festivals Foundation will help ensure the future of our festivals and support musicians and music education programs across the country.