The Right Note: Surfside family donates musical instruments to schools through Music for Memories

(WSVN) - Music is an important part of the curriculum at school. Many public schools struggle to find instruments for their music programs. But as 7’s Gina Benitez reports, thanks to the efforts of a Surfside family, some schools in Miami-Dade County are now hitting just “The Right Note.”

At Emerson Elementary School in Southwest Miami-Dade, you can hear the sweet sound of music.

These students are learning how to play the bells and the drums.

Denis Alvarez, Emerson student: “I feel very happy because I express myself in the way that I want to.”

At Robert B. Ingram Elementary School in Opa-locka, it’s all about the violin.

Leilany Milian, Robert B. Ingram student: “It’s been amazing to learn it.”

The students have access to these instruments thanks to donations from Dana Kulvin, her son Benjamin Dietch and their organization, called Music for Memories.

Dana Kulvin, Music for Memories: “Who wants to play music the rest of your lives? That’s awesome! That’s why we do this!”

When Benjamin was 11, he wanted to do a school service project involving his love of music.

Benjamin Dietch, Music for Memories: “We started talking about ways to make it possible to provide the same opportunities that I had to kids across Florida, and the idea for Music for Memories was born.”

Benjamin and Dana began collecting all kinds of new and used musical instruments.

Dana Kulvin: “We were sort of astonished at how quickly we got a response and how many instruments rolled in.”

And the donations haven’t stopped. Over the last eight years, Music for Memories has collected more than 250 instruments, including guitars, drums, even upright and baby grand pianos for 25 schools in Miami-Dade.

Benjamin Dietch: “We go out and find an elementary school, middle school or high school and say, ‘Hey, we have these instruments. Who needs this?'”

Benjamin and Dana delivered two new sets of bells to Emerson and two new violins to Robert B. Ingram, Friday.

Dr. Cynthia Clay, principal, Robert B. Ingram: “I was elated to know that my children are going to have an experience through music like they would not otherwise have.”

Benjamin also likes to inspire children with his personal story.

Benjamin Dietch: “Music is something that’s really the reason I’m in school today.”

Benjamin is studying on a music scholarship at Loyola University in New Orleans, where he is majoring in jazz studies.

Benjamin Dietch: “I’ve seen how music can pull, basically, kids with no drive, no ambition in life. You give someone a guitar, they might end up at college.”

That’s music to these students’ ears.

Anto’Niyah Bethel, Robert B. Ingram student: “It’s good for my life ’cause I’m trying something new.”

Michael Sanchez, Robert B. Ingram student: “It’s so beautiful.”

During a time when money for the arts is in short supply, Music for Memories says it will continue to make instrument donations, and at Miami-Dade schools, that promise hits just the right note.

If you have a new or used instrument you’d like to donate, click here for more information.

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