SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — There were flutes, trumpets, trombones and saxophones — dozens of high-end instruments getting to know their brand new owners recently at the Salvation Army Siemon Family Youth & Community Center in South Los Angeles.
“It puts so many smiles on the kids’ faces,” Ronald Tyson, director of the Children of Production Soul Band, said.READ MORE: Beverly Grove Homeless Encampment Cleared, But Residents Say Problems With Crime Have Not Gone Away
The Siemon Center is rehearsal central for the band, which Tyson said trains any young person with a passion to play.
“Young musicians, different ranges, age from 6 to 19,” he said. “And they play their desired instrument.”
And that opportunity for the kids to choose their favorite instrument is made possible by a generous gift from The Rheuben Allen Music Education Foundation.
Allen is a Torrance-based clarinet player, saxophone designer and music philanthropist.READ MORE: LA Animal Services Offering Reduced And Waived Fees For Pit Bulls, Cats
“In the last three, four years, we’ve given over 500 instruments to young people to learn to play,” he said.
Allen said the gift of a clarinet at the age of 12 altered the trajectory of his life and inspired him to do the same for others.
“Everything changed for me,” he said. “I knew I could do something that other people couldn’t do, so that’s how I know the importance of young people being able to play music.”
And with so many facing economic uncertainty, there can be an extra sense of pride for the students who now have something that they own themselves.MORE NEWS: Lakers To Welcome Back Fans At Staples Center Thursday
“These kids work so hard, it’s just a blessing,” Tyson said. “They understand the magnitude of how far they can go now with what they just received.”