GR7 (PIF1): Musical Mold

The first Pay It Forward giving resolution, sent to me via FB, is officially set.

“I was trying to think of a way for you to help the music programs here. But I can’t get past the ‘not in a financial way.’ I’ve been trying to come up with another way for you to give to that program. I need a few more weeks. Brain is fried. Maybe that’s what you need to give me–some new brain cells!

Maybe some sort of instrument drive? Or if I had the time and skills to research and apply for grants, that would be great too. Both the middle school and high school my kids are zoned for are Title I schools. There is little money in the county and state for music to begin with. Because we pull from a lower economic bracket, there isn’t much in the way of fund raising and personal donations. Our middle school band director said he wouldn’t recommend any of the school-owned instruments to the kids because they are full of mold. Gross! But for many families, renting a school instrument is the only option.”

So, how can I help the music program without writing a check? Well, if I could find a way to rid the instruments they already have of the mold, that would go a long way toward improving the music program. That way, more kids could play an instrument, the school won’t have to come up with funds and I’m not an enabler of financial waste.

UltrasonicAfter doing some research, I found out that mold in instruments is not a unique problem. The most common and effective way to get rid of the mold is by dipping the instrument into what is essentially a giant ultrasonic vat. There is a company out there that manufactures one big enough to dip an entire tuba. It holds 36 gallons and costs about $3,000. There is an instrument shop called All-County Music in Andrea’s area that has one, but they charge about $150 per instrument for the service.

Then I had an epiphany. I know someone who used to have a large ultrasonic machine in their factory, for a completely unrelated purpose. They’ve since retired, but I thought it worth a call to see if (a) he still has it and (b) it is big enough to fit a musical instrument. The answer to both questions was, “yes!” It’s only a 10 gallon version, so it won’t fit a tuba or trombone, but it will certainly do the job for almost all the other instruments when broken down. To make matters even better, the gentleman offered to deliver it to the school..

Andrea put me in touch with the music director so that I could work out the logistical details, but of course nothing is that easy when a bureaucracy is involved. While he was incredibly grateful for the help, he informed me I would have to seek approval from the county before we could proceed. I have moved it up the chain of command and as of this moment am awaiting a response.

However, as per my definition, even if they refuse my help, I have satisfied my resolution and look forward to seeing how Andrea pays it forward.

GR Resolution 7-11: Pay It Forward – “Success or failure for the GR will be determined solely by what I can control, namely that I carry out a favor, get confirmation that the favor will be paid forward and pass along the information for tracking it.”