Country music celebrity Chely Wright
sported a different hat last week - away from the country music scene - to spend time with students at three different schools this past Wednesday. As President and founder of her Reading, Writing and Rhythm Foundation, Chely visited with children and teens at coast schools to replace musical instruments that were lost or destroyed by the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
Reading, Writing and Rhythm (a nonprofit organization) donated instruments to Gulfport High (Gulfport, MS), Pass Christian Elementary (Pass Christian, MS) and Bay High (Waveland, MS) valued at $26,000. Chely spent one-on-one time with students and teachers at each school sharing the importance of music in schools and in children's lives.
Musical gifts donated to Gulfport High School band department included: two half size upright bass; two full size violins; three full size violas; two 3/4 & full size cellos; two tenor saxophones; violin, viola, cello and bass strings.
Items were also donated to the Pass Christian Elementary School Gifts to rebuild their elementary school music education program including: one double-sided French horn; Suzuki tone chimes; eight hand drums; eight triangles; eight tambourines; thirty recorders; three bell kits; a percussion kit; four pair of crash cymbals and two sets of hand bells.
Bay High School was totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Reading, Writing and Rhythm donated the following items to rebuild its music curriculum for the children's use when they return: a baritone saxophone; two concert snare drums; mallets and drum sticks; clarinet and sax reeds; trumpet, trombone and tuba mouthpieces and twenty-eight instruction books for an entire band.
"Visiting with these young music enthusiasts excites me and warms my heart. It makes me feel like this organization [R,W&R] is truly doing something for young adults to improve personal and emotional well-being and their education," said Wright "This visit to these coastal schools was one of the most moving experiences—these young adults desperately needed some music in their lives to overcome the disaster Katrina left behind. I am more than pleased to be able to share the music."
The visits to the coast schools follow Wright's call last week to a small school in Tioga, TX-a rural town of 600 just north of Dallas. Musical gifts valued at $15,000 were donated to Tioga ISD (an independent school district/pre-kindergarten through 8th grade).
Wright founded Reading, Writing and Rhythm in 1999 with the objective of improving the quality of music education in America's public schools and raising public awareness surrounding the importance of music education for our nation's youth. Wright set the goal of raising $5,000 a year to promote music in schools. Since then, the organization has raised more than $1 Million.
The 6th Annual Reading, Writing and Rhythm Benefit Concert and corresponding silent auction is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 6 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased by visiting chely.com. NOTE: This event is routinely SOLD-OUT! So buy your tickets early!