Music News

Ear Candy Teams With Scottsdale Leadership

Valley charity Ear Candy -- which gets instruments out of closets and sheds and into the hands of Arizona school kids -- has teamed up with some notable names. Like the dance party residents at Sticky Fingers, for example, or local indie-poppers Bears of Manitou, and AOR kings Blue Öyster Cult.

The spirit of collaboration has served the organization, lead by Nate Anderson, well. He's still at it too, pairing up with Scottsdale Leadership for a new initiative called Play it Forward. Scottsdale Leadership awarded Play it Forward with $2,000, and Anderson and co dropped 25 guitars off yesterday at Tavan Elementary school for an after-school mariachi program.

"We equipped these Arcadia High school kids with a "you-can't-mess-it-up kind of instrument drive," Anderson says. "We've giving away some of the guitars they collected to Tavan elementary."

Sometimes it's not easy to get said instruments out of said closets, Anderson says:

"A lot of times [the instruments are] really important family heirlooms. 'Oh, I played this for eight years,' or 'My daughter played it.' Through this system, we allow the donor to explain their story as to why their instrument is important to them, and what we do is we match those stories up with the new ones that are being created as a result of their donation. We really value that -- it's not like donating a sweater at Goodwill. We value that, so that donor knows they are a part of that, reinvesting to giving that old instrument new life."

Ear Candy's partnership with Scottsdale Leadership will help equip institutions private and public to create their own instrument drives.

"Music education is getting cut all over the place," Anderson says. "[We're saying] here's a way that you can help. It's really simple."

For more information, visit Ear Candy's official site.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.