Arts group seeks old, unused musical instruments

Play It Again benefits music students

An old trumpet sitting neglected in an attic could be an opportunity for a budding young musician.

The Acadiana Center for the Arts is collecting and recycling musical instruments this month as part of its annual Play It Again Instrument Recycling Program.

“Many of our kids can’t be in band because their parents aren’t aware of programs like this,” said Jody Kovarik, Judice Middle School band director. “To me, it’s like a little Mozart that never had the chance. They could go their entire life with this musical ability and never get the instrument in their hands.”

Kovarik, who learned to play music on a broken, third-hand flute, said she is honored to have the opportunity to pass music on to children, but some can’t afford the often costly instruments.

To that end, the AcA has held the annual Play It Again musical instrument drive since 2005, generally receiving about 40 used instruments each spring.

“The goal is to help any child that would be interested in learning music,” AcA Development Director Sarah Brown said.

The instruments are cleaned and repaired over the summer and donated to area schools, where they can be loaned to students in need.

The process can take a few months but can be expedited if the need for a certain instrument is great enough and the instrument is available, Brown said.

That happened recently when one of Kovarik’s students needed a flute after her old one finally gave out.

The student had few options for another instrument.

“She has very serious health issues,” Kovarik said. “On top of that, she is one of several students who are classified as homeless.”

Lafayette Music Co. owner Raymond Goodrich Sr., whose business has been donating and fixing instruments since the program began in 2005, said the recycled instruments offer children an opportunity to learn valuable life lessons through music.

“Kids can get into trouble with nothing to do,” he said. “Music teaches them organization and discipline. Imagine what it would be like if a band went onto the field and everyone did their own thing.”

The Play It Again program accepts instruments of all types — woodwind, brass, string and percussion — and in all states of disrepair.

“If people want to donate instruments, don’t worry about what it is,” Brown said. “We’ll find a home for it.”

Those who donate also receive a tax receipt for the value of the instrument.

Donations can be dropped off at the AcA, 101 W. Vermilion St., or at Lafayette Music Co., 3700 Johnston St.