Students at four schools in Pawtucket, RI, are playing sweet music on instruments donated by Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. The Foundation’s Executive Producer, Jay Sweet, presented the instruments to students from Goff, Jenks and Slater Middle Schools and Tolman High School during a special program held in the Goff auditorium on Thursday, April 5.

“Knowing that these instruments will allow students from public schools in Rhode Island – the state our festivals call home – the opportunity to experience making music, is what this foundation is all about,” said Sweet. “At a time when arts and music programs are experiencing budget cuts nationwide, we’re proud to be doing our part to make sure the next generation has the essential tools they need for a quality music education.”

Among the instruments donated to students are a tenor saxophone and tuba (Goff); a baritone saxophone, trumpet and flute (Jenks); an acoustic guitar and two electric guitars (Slater); and a tuba and alto saxophone (Tolman).

“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,” said Patti DiCenso, Superintendent, Pawtucket School Department. “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.”

Thrilled with her new tenor saxophone, a 13-year old Goff student thanked Jay Sweet and said, “It’s been my dream to play another saxophone … it’s so beautiful and I love it so much.”

Also in attendance were Cheryl McWilliams, Assistant Superintendent, Pawtucket School Department; band directors and music teachers from each of the four schools; and the Goff Junior High Jazz Band, who performed a musical selection for the audience.

Special thanks to Rick’s Musical Instruments, whose generous support allowed the Foundation to purchase additional instruments for the students.

The Newport Festivals Foundation fosters the legacy and expands the impact of its Festivals through educational initiatives to engage students and introduce them to jazz and folk music. The Foundation’s goal is to offer opportunity, inspire through exposure and facilitate the collection of resources needed for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to spark engagement is accomplished through a variety of initiatives, including instrument donations and performances at schools throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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