This fall, students in eleven additional West Virginia public middle schools will have new instruments for their music programs, thanks to an innovative partnership between the national VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and community-oriented organizations around the state. Each school will receive $30,000 in new Yamaha musical instruments as part of the statewide program.

On September 21, 22, and 23, Rob Davidson, program director for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, will join West Virginia leaders and program partners on a tour of schools around the state that are participating in the program.

“West Virginia is on course to bring musical instruments to every elementary and middle school in our state that has a qualified music teacher,” said Randall Reid-Smith, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. “Studies show that music education helps develop critical thinking and self-discipline skills and improves early cognitive development. In addition, we hope that our students will develop a lifelong interest in music and other arts as a result of these educational experiences.”

Paul Cothran, executive director and vice president for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, said, “The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is enormously proud and excited about our initiative in West Virginia. The Foundation generally works in partnership with local districts and community leaders to develop a strategic plan to restore instrumental music education for all students within that district. West Virginia is the largest and first statewide effort we have undertaken to ensure, over time, greater access to music education in each of the state’s 55 counties.”

Cothran said the Foundation is delighted to have the commitment of the state leaders and the generous support of local funders which makes this initiative possible and undoubtedly will serve as model for other parts of the nation.

Reid-Smith said the matching partnership program allows interested organizations and individuals to donate $15,000 for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation match. The schools, in turn, complete a comprehensive review of their music programs to demonstrate eligibility for the program.

This year, the schools that benefitted from the program are Bridge Street Middle School, Doddridge County Middle School, Follansbee Middle School, Marlinton Middle School, New Martinsville Middle School, Pendleton Middle School, Pleasants County Middle School, Shady Spring Middle School, Sherrard Middle School, Van Devender Middle School and Wellsburg Middle School.

In the 2009-2010 school year, the schools that received instruments were Capon Bridge Middle School, Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School, Duval PK-8, Guyan Valley Middle School, Harmon School, Hamlin PK-8, Gilbert Elementary School and Kermit K-8.

Any traditional West Virginia public elementary or middle school that has a certified music teacher and wants to build its instrumental music program may qualify for a VH1 Save The Music Foundation grant, according to Reid-Smith. “We hope to see programs in every county of the state within the next few years,” he said. “Having this opportunity is a wonderful way to strengthen our state’s arts focus as we introduce our youth to the pleasures of music in all of its many forms.”

The VH1 Save the Music Foundation presentation schedule is

Wednesday, September 21st
7:45 am          Follansbee Middle School, Follansbee                        
8:30 am          Wellsburg Middle School, Wellsburg                         
9:30 am          Bridge Street Middle School, Wheeling                 
10:15 am        Sherrard Middle School, Wheeling                           
12:00 pm        New Martinsville School, New Martinsville            
1:30 pm          Pleasants County Middle School, Belmont            
2:45 pm          Van Devender Middle School, Parkersburg
Thursday, September 22nd
8:00 am          Doddridge County Middle School, West Union                         
10:30 am        Harman Elementary, Harman                              
12:00 pm        Pendleton County Middle School, Franklin                        
2:00 pm          Marlinton Middle School, Buckeye
Friday, September 23rd
8:00 am          Shady Spring Middle School, Shady Spring       
10:15 am        Duval PK – 8, Griffithsville                    
11:15 am        Hamlin PK – 8, Hamlin                
1:15 pm          Guyan Valley Middle School, Branchland     

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

About VH1 Save The Music Foundation

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. To date, VH1 Save The Music has provided more than $45 million in new musical instruments to 1,700 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country, impacting the lives of more than 1.4 million children. The Foundation’s renewed commitment to donate $100 million worth of new musical instruments to ensure that even a greater number of students receive a comprehensive music education in the coming decade. Get involved and learn more at <>.

Contacts for VH1 Save The Music Foundation
Nick Carcaterra/Susan Blond, Inc. for VH1 Save The Music Foundation
212.333.7728 ext.126