Kailua-Kona Lions collecting instruments for school

KAILUA-KONA — Local music-lovers are invited to give the area’s students the opportunity to experience the power of music, through an instrument drive organized by the Kailua-Kona Lions Club.

The club is collecting new and used band and orchestra instruments to benefit the band program at Kealakehe Intermediate School.

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“Music is just such a terrific way of reaching young people,” said Kailua-Kona Lions Club treasurer Carla Brown.

The idea, Brown said, came from a separate ukulele donation to the school from the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and the Hawaii-based Music for Life Foundation. When she brought the idea to the club, she said, everyone was “right on board.”

Bernaldo Evangelista, Kealakehe Intermediate School’s band, orchestra and Japanese language teacher, said this year he has 200 students and just 100 working instruments. He’s looking for any and all sorts of band and orchestral instruments, including brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, as well as violins and cellos.

Evangelista said he was “so excited” when the Lions Club took on the effort to help collect instruments for his program.

“It’s already hard when you’re learning to play an instrument,” he said, adding it’s a “double whammy” when the instruments students have to use are in poor working condition.

Likewise, Brown said they’re happy to help support music education for local students.

“We like to do things with the youth in our community,” she said. “This is our goal.”

Used instruments, she said, can be refurbished, and the club plans to donate a $300 check to the band program to go toward refurbishment and repair kits.

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Brown said the effort will be ongoing and, should they collect more instruments than they need to meet the needs of the Kealakehe Intermediate School program, she said, they can give instruments to other schools, too.

The club is also accepting monetary donations for the drive. Those interested can contact Brown at 331-1360 or kailuakonalions@gmail.com.