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Photo by Jessica Andrus  
The program accepts virtually any instruments — didgeridoos are probably an exception — with clarinets and saxophones being the most popular.  

The Acadiana Center for the Arts is collecting donations for its Play It Again Instrument Recycling Program in preparation for the 2014-2015 school year.

“A lot of times the teacher is in a position that they just need instruments,” says Sarah Brown, AcA development director, who has been a part of the program for two years. “[The program] gives people the chance to try something on, for the schools to have access to instruments and for the students to play on.”

Members of the community can donate various instruments in any condition to AcA, located at 101 W. Vermilion St. Lafayette Music Company has partnered with AcA to offer its services refurbishing the instruments, after which they’re distributed to schools throughout the area.

Play It Again was started by the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana in 2004. (PASA merged with the AcA last summer.) The program, sponsored by Chevron, gives disadvantaged middle school students the opportunity to participate in music education, developing skills and values such as responsibility, discipline and respect.

Although the program mainly donates to high-poverty Lafayette Parish middle schools, Brown says it has made instruments available to schools in the broader Acadiana area. On average, the program receives 30 to 40 instruments per school year, with the most requested instruments being saxophones and clarinets.

“It’s just a win-win-win basically,” explains Brown. “You have the person at home who has the abandoned trumpet, gathering dust, like ‘what am I going to do with this?’ and they hear about the program. They can give it to us and get a tax deductible donation for that.”

One of the biggest donations since Play It Again’s inception was more than 15 instruments to Acadian Middle. For those without instruments to donate, the AcA also accepts monetary donations for the program.

“Generally how it starts is we get calls in the fall, right after school kicks off and the band teachers know we are a resource to them,” notes Brown. “They’ll call and say what holes they have as far as instruments.”

After receiving the donation, the school takes all responsibility for maintaining the instruments’ condition, but in the event that additional repairs are necessary, Brown says the program is available to help.

“I have talked to teachers about that — if they ever need assistance — to come and talk to us about it because I think that is something we can help them with. The school kind of maintains them after, but if a school is in desperate need of needing to repair an instrument, I think we’ll be able to work [with them].

“We are helping to fulfill our mission, which is to foster the arts and culture in Acadiana and then, at the end of the day, it’s just about as many children as possible who want to participate in band being able to do so,” says Brown.

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