CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students in eight West Virginia public schools will enjoy the sounds that new musical instruments make in their bands and music classes again this year, thanks to a partnership between the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. For the fourth year, The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences also will join as a partner in this effort.

On Oct. 22-23, WVDCH Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith and Renée Margocee, arts director, will join Chiho Okuizumi Feindler, grantee and compliance manager for VH1 Save The Music Foundation, on a tour of schools across the state that are participating in the program this year. A schedule for the presentations is included.

The eight new schools are Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School in Upshur County, Collins Middle School in Fayette County, Moorefield Middle School in Hardy County, Mountain Ridge Middle School in Berkeley County, Mullens Middle School in Wyoming County, Petersburg High School in Grant County, Warm Springs Middle School in Morgan County and Wirt County Middle School in Wirt County.

“VH1 Save The Music Foundation is proud to partner with the state of West Virginia as this is the largest and first statewide effort we have undertaken,” said Chiho Feindler. Since 2010, the partnership has put $1.81 million worth of instruments in 59 schools in 48 counties across the state. This year, each school receives eight flutes, 11 clarinets, three alto saxophones, six trumpets, four trombones, a bass drum and stand, one bell kit, one snare drum and stand, one set of bass drum mallets, 1 set of bell mallets, 16-inch hand cymbals and one set of cymbal straps and pads worth an average value of $35,000, along with on-going program management and materials to each school that benefits from a grant of new instruments, including the creation and distribution of our Principals’ Guide to Building Your Music Program, compliance monitoring via our annual progress report, advocacy tools and delivery events.

“Our goal of improving music programs and bringing new musical instruments to every qualified elementary and middle school in all 55 counties in West Virginia is getting closer. By 2016, we will have instruments in all counties. We hope that the opportunities this program provides will instill in our students a long-lasting passion for music as well as the other arts,” said Reid-Smith. “Research has shown a strong correlation between music education and academic achievements, such as consistently higher scores on standardized tests, critical thinking skills and concentration-based tasks. Music instruction in young children also has proven to help with early cognitive development and language skills.”

Al Najjar, president and CEO of The Clay Center, said, “This partnership is one that we are proud to see expand to help improve the inclusion of arts in schools around West Virginia.”

The matching partnership program encourages 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.

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.

For more information, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner, at (304) 558-0220 or

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.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit committed to ensuring that music instruction is a core component to a complete education. Since 1997, the foundation has partnered with more than 1,960 public schools in 233 school districts, giving 2.6 million children the tools and confidence to excel in academics and in life.  #SaveTheMusic and get involved at; join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @vh1savethemusic.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation presentation schedule is:
Thursday, Oct. 22
7:30 a.m. – Mountain Ridge Middle School, Berkeley County
9 a.m. – Warm Springs Middle School, Morgan County
11:15 a.m. – Moorefield Middle School, Hardy County
12:15 p.m. – Petersburg Middle School, Grant County
2:15 p.m. – Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, Upshur County

Friday, Oct. 23
8 a.m. – Wirt County Middle School, Wirt County
11:30 a.m. – Mullens Middle School, Wyoming County
1:30 p.m. – Collins Middle School, Fayette County