Santa Barbara Education Foundation and 99.9 KTYD Drum Up Funds for School Music Programs | Good for Santa Barbara

A woman with long blonde hair holds up an Australian didgeridoo that was donated at last year's school instrument drive.
An Australian didgeridoo was among the more unusual instruments dropped off at last year’s instrument drive. Credit: Courtesy photo

Since 2003, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) has kept the beat for school music programs by raising funds to pay for instruction and collecting instruments.

The efforts have ensured that every elementary school student in Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) learns to play an instrument as part of their school day curriculum, a rarity for California school districts. 

Now for the fifth year, local music educators and professional musicians who got their start in music in SBUSD music programs will take to the airwaves for all of February on 99.9 KTYD to ask the community for support of the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive.

The on-air event serves as a celebration of SBUSD’s student musicians. There will be guest interviews with Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Lito Hernandez, Victor Murillo, and Bucket Baker. 

Last year’s Keep the Beat Instrument Drive brought in $10,000 in funding and 140 donated instruments, including everything from an electric ukulele and a didgeridoo from Australia, to guitars and violins.

“Every music student wants to play a particular instrument,” said Stephen Hughes, La Colina Junior High music teacher. “Maybe they sign up hoping to play flute, trumpet, drums or cello.

“When the schools receive instruments from the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, we can give them directly to our students, who can begin learning their dream instrument right away.”

But it’s not just donated instruments that keep students playing music. This year, SBEF hopes the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive will also collect funds to help repair and maintain instruments currently in use by students.

Funds raised also pay specialists to work with students in free after-school programs like BRAVO, and low-cost learning opportunities such as Nick Rail Summer Band Camp.

SBEF will also host instrument donation sites on Fridays in February: Feb. 3 and 17 at Nick Rail Music; Feb. 10 and 24 at La Cumbre Junior High School.

For more, visit or call 805-284-9125.

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