- Joe Keithley, a punk rocker, city councillor, and Harmony For All organizer, has high hopes for Saturday’s instrument drop-off.
- Burnaby councillor Joe Keithley issued a call for people to donate their old musical instruments two years ago.
The plan was to use them in Harmony For All, a new program that aims to give kids who can’t afford an instrument the opportunity to play one and take lessons.
The response was overwhelming. “We got 170,” Keithley said. “I was expecting 20 also 30 or 40 people, and we were completely overwhelmed.” In addition, there was a line of people attempting to give away items.
“It’s as if people went into their closets and thought, ‘I haven’t played this in years, and if a kid can play it, that’s great.'” Unfortunately, the program never got off the ground.
“We tried to run the tool program through the academies,” he says, “but the schools were overwhelmed with COVID.”
“About a month back, I got this put into the civic allocation and approved as a city-run program.” That’s great because it means it’s going to happen regardless.” Keithley and Burnaby firefighters will be collecting more instruments in the parking lot of Burnaby City Hall, 4949 Canada Way, this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The only thing we don’t accept are upright pianos,” he explained. “But nobody’s dragging that with them anyway.”
“We probably got 60-70 guitars,” he estimated. “Approximately 15-20 electronic keyboards.” There are saxophones, trumpets, and clarinets. We even received drum sets. “There was a Scottish family up the block from where I grew up on Burnaby Mountain,” he joked. “They had their daughter studying bagpipes.” When she practiced, they made her do it on the back porch, so the neighbors had to hear it, not them.”
Some of the instruments are being refurbished, while others are being stored in preparation for use at the Shadbolt Centre. Where the program will start in a few months. The program will be implemented in Burnaby schools starting in September of next year.
Keithley is best known outside Burnaby as the singer/guitarist for punk rock legends DOA. He turned 65 this year, but he’s still touring when he’s not working for Burnaby council.
Source: vancouversun News
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