Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. (NFF) announced today that they have partnered with Rick’s Musical Instruments of Cumberland, RI, to create a program that will place instruments in Rhode Island public schools. 

Starting today, all are welcome to bring gently-used instruments to Rick’s Musical Instruments or Bravo Musical Instruments in Rehoboth, MA, for evaluation. Newport Festivals Foundation will cover the costs to refurbish and/or make minor repairs, and when the instrument is ready, will match it with a public school in Rhode Island.

“We wanted to create a program that does three things: supports music education programs in RI Public Schools, supports our local music shops, and provides our festival community with a way to give back,” said Jay Sweet, Executive Producer of Newport Festivals in a prepared statement. “As a nonprofit that supports music education, our generous fans constantly ask if we take used instruments. Our answer up until now has been, ‘we just don’t have the expertise to fix or store them.’  By partnering with Rick’s and Bravo, we found the solution.” 

“For us, it was an easy decision,” said Richard J. Verfaille, owner of Rick’s and Bravo in the announcement. “We have all the instrument repair technicians and the storage space needed to house the instruments that the Newport Festivals Foundation will be collecting. The goal for us is, and always has been, to promote school music band programs. This is a great way to get instruments that are not in “playing condition”, back up to par and in the hands of students who will bring them back to life! We are thrilled to partner with such a wonderful foundation to help keep music alive in the local school systems.”

Donated instruments must be hand-delivered to Rick’s or Bravo Musical Instruments. Rick’s will evaluate each instrument and decide if they are suitable for repair. 

Newport Festivals Foundation is encouraging Rhode Island public school teachers and administrators to contact the Foundation at with any instrument needs. 

Instrument drop-off points are:

Rick’s Musical Instruments 2352 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 02864

Bravo Musical InstrumentsMills Plaza II, 492 Winthrop Street #8, Rehoboth, MA 02769

Newport Festivals Foundation fosters the legacy and expands the impact of its Festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in 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. 

For more information on Newport Festivals Foundation education initiatives, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.