The road ends, but the journey continues...

Shout Out: Bringing Music to Life

bringing music to life logo

Al Bruno - promo photo circa 1940 - 1950

Dad’s (Al Bruno) promo photo ~ Chicago, circa 1945 (?)

Shortly after my jazzman Dad passed away last year, I received a letter in the snail mail announcing a contribution had been made to the Bringing Music to Life’s instrument repair fund in his memory by one of my cousins* and her husband.  What a perfect way to honor my Dad!
Founded in 2010, this non-profit organization not only provides musical instruments to students in underfunded schools throughout Colorado, but refurbishes each donated instrument before being placed in their eager hands.

“If you take a musical instrument that is in bad need of repair or even partial need of repair and put that into the hands of a 4th or 5th or 6th grader, they’re going to be very defeated when they try to play that instrument.  They’re going to think it’s them – they’re not gonna know it’s the instrument.” (Dan Parker, pres. Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology)

While instrument repair is an on-going service, the instrument gathering phase of this organization blitzes two weeks in March annually. This year, it runs from March 13th to March 25th. If you live in Colorado and have an instrument to donate, please consider taking it to one of the drop off locations listed here.
Others of you interested in this non-profit’s mission can go to their site and decide if you’d like to make a donation to their year-round instrument repair fund**. Or, closer to home, present this non-profit as a template for your own local community to use in aiding the enabling of the arts in the public schools.
2017’s promo video presents a special slice of the impact a single instrument donation made on a single student. However, last year’s promo video tells a more complete story of the Bringing Music to Life’s mission – I present it here for your own consideration.

* thank you Joannie!
** if you wish, feel free to donate in memory of Al Bruno.



  1. Jennie Fitzkee

    This is just wonderful, Laura!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, you as an educator can especially appreciate its merits.

  2. Lulu

    Love this post! Thank you for raising awareness about this organization. I especially liked the quote that you shared. Music and the arts are so important and yet so undervalued. I hope that other states can model Colorado’s example.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, it is a great example of the positive power of what it means for everyday citizens to get involved with a solution to the ‘devaluation of the arts’. It’s kindof like a ‘build it and they will come’ sort of thing – if those who understand how to get non-profits organized and offer practical solutions to specific community needs, then the general public will step up and make a difference. Crowdfunding outside of the internet box! HA!

      • Lulu

        I am not one of those people who is particularly gifted when it comes to music or the arts, and I don’t have the first clue about funding and organizing a non-profit, but I certainly appreciate the need for such things, and I delight in the beauty of the results. Those results are not only works of art that are pleasing to the eyes and ears, they are stronger communities, brighter minds, enriched lives, broadened cultural awareness, enhanced education, decreases in violence and drugs… I could go on and on. If only the people who pass budgets in Congress could appreciate the fact that a society’s culture defines it’s values.

        • laura bruno lilly

          Well said and factually substantiated many times over…
          Unfortunately, it seems current Congressional Culture isn’t biased against only the arts these days…witness the drastic cuts to such scientific staples as NOAA, NASA etc
          Creativity is found in all aspects of life, not just confined to the arts and so bottom-line: your statement that a society’s culture defines its values is between a rock and a hard place (to put it nicely).

  3. Jane Chesebrough

    Laura, thank you for writing another post about such an inspirational topic. So often I hear how the arts are being cut in educational institutions and seen as non-essential.A program like this is truly a life-saver.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for recognizing the need and seeing this as the gem that it is…

  4. Andy

    What a worthy scheme, and what a lovely gesture by your cousin and her husband.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, it was 100% totally unexpected…which made it all the more special.

  5. Phil Ryan

    Hi Laura, this is a great post.
    Government and local government officials should be surrendering their perks to allow all schools to have access to the instruments they need. Here in the UK schools face more and more cuts because of ministerial incompetence. I wanted to play the guitar as a kid but never had the opportunity and they’ll be lots of kids in a similar position. Back their interests and watch the domino effect.
    Sorry, I’m forgetting my manners. Like I said, great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for dropping by, Phil and welcome!
      You’re assessment is spot-on (as you guys would say) and I didn’t feel that your comment was at all ‘un-mannerly’.

  6. L. Marie

    That video made me cry! What a great program. And how wonderful that a donation was made in your dad’s name. I’m so glad those instruments found good homes.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Awww, I get teary eyed on this also! 😉
      You’re right, it is touching to see the power of music transforming lives being enabled by something as simple as placing an instrument into the hands of one desiring to learn how to play.

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