For musicians at the Cleveland Orchestra, music is a way of life. Their skills playing violin, trumpet and cello have been developed over years of hard work and put on display for thousands to hear.
But for many children growing up in Cleveland, the dream of one day playing on the same stage has become harder to achieve.
"Sadly many music programs in schools have been decimated," said Joan Katz Napoli, Senior Director of Education at the Cleveland Orchestra. "Music and the arts are the first thing to go (in schools) because they are considered thrills in a way. That's tragic. Every kid deserves music.”
It's that fundamental belief that has led the Cleveland Orchestra and other area organizations to orchestrate a solution.
"We banded together and said, let’s do something about this. And that was the beginning of Play it Forward Cleveland," said Napoli.
Play it Forward Cleveland is a collaborative effort with Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell, Arts Cleveland, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, Cleveland City Council, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Play it Forward Cleveland is reaching out to the community through a number of instrument drives. So far, they have already collected 300 instruments that will be refurbished, tuned up and given to local kids in need.
"All of these instruments have a story," said Courtney Gazda, Education and Community Programs Coordinator at the Cleveland Orchestra. "The fact they are now being passed on and they get to go into the hands of children in the Cleveland city school district is really special."
Generosity creating new opportunity and keeping the music alive for the next generation.
"The fact that these kids are going to get a chance now to hold instruments, learn how to play music and have music be a part of their life is incredible," Gazda said.
Play it Forward Cleveland's last instrument drive is taking place March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at Severance Hall. Only real, gently-used musical instruments will be accepted.