Kids’ Orchestra asks for donations through Play It Forward campaign

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Music can open doors to new cultures and education and career opportunities but not every child has access to instruments.

That’s where Kids’ Orchestra in Baton Rouge comes in and why it needs your help.

Dr. Larry Heard’s passion for music started at a young age.

“I grew this amazing love for the piano and all music, anything that had anything to do with music,” said Heard. “It just ... it was my bread and butter.”

Now, he’s helping to show new generations what music can do through Kids’ Orchestra, a unique after-school program in East Baton Rouge Parish that provides kids with instruments and musical instruction.

“A lot of these kids, they look at music as something that is fun. And when they’re older, they’ll begin to understand that this is more than just a fun activity. This is, you know, something that can really take me far,” Heard explained.

Dr. Larry is Kids’ Orchestra’s program manager. He’s also in charge of making sure those instruments, from trumpets to violins, are in tip-top playing condition when kids take them home. But maintaining hundreds of instruments isn’t always easy.

“We have to send them off to be cleaned and to you know, get the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of the bell of the trumpet and, you know, the cello that was used to kill the bee and the bee lived with the cello,” said executive director Jody Hanet. “Didn’t we have to send them off and get them all fixed? And so, that’s a lot of money that we spend to maintain our instruments. But it’s so important.”

The head of Kids’ Orchestra said they’re doing more than teach a few notes. They’re teaching kids responsibility and giving them a place to belong.

“Eighty-three percent of our kids said they loved being in Kids’ Orchestra because it made them feel like they’re good at something. That confidence building is so important and that confidence building also affects what they do in school,” Hanet added.

That’s something Dr. Larry knows first hand and why he hopes others will lend their support to keep the music playing.

“It provided me with opportunities for a career. It’s still doing that, you know. So really, music did or is providing so much for me. And I know that it can do that for these kids for sure,” Heard pointed out.

WAFB has partnered with Kids’ Orchestra for its Play It Forward campaign.

CLICK HERE to donate.

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