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Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

Ivories needing a tickle?

Drums in the doldrums?

Gone fickle on your flute?

If your old band or orchestra instruments are collecting dust in the attic, take note: The 10-year-old down the street could be dying to breathe life back into them.

Utah Public Radio is inviting residents to donate usable instruments to Utah public schools. The organization, headquartered at Utah State University with signals in most areas from St. George to Montpelier, Idaho, kicked off its Replay ... program last weekend.

The Cache Education Foundation is a strong Replay ... partner, sending information to Utah superintendents and school district foundations and helping coordinate efforts to encourage local music shops to fix donated instruments for free.

But apparently not all Utah school districts are aware of it yet. So donors might be wise to call their local school district (see a list at upr.org) to make arrangements or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

"All we're asking the school districts of the state to do is be a collection point for the instruments, so people could know they could bring them there," Cache Superintendent Steve Norton said. "(If) they're just sitting in closets, they could be a tax deduction, and we could get a kid playing an instrument."

Certainly, Cip Petersen's some 400 Salt Lake music students would be grateful.

In his music room at Bryant Intermediate School — he also teaches at three elementaries — a boy plays a cello that looks ready for scrap.

"They're just really beat up," Petersen said of some instruments available through the schools.

Arts and music programs across the country have been threatened by the push for the three R's and pressure of No Child Left Behind.

But money is another threat.

"We have parents all the time telling us kids are not in music because they cannot afford to purchase" instruments, especially in the elementary schools, Norton said. "If it weren't for the fact we have a couple big donors in the valley ... many of these kids would not be in (an elementary after school program through Mountain West String Academy) — and we still don't meet the need."

"You have to take a personal interest as a school to make sure the arts stay valid," Bryant assistant principal Herminio Trujillo said as band students put away their instruments after class.

"I can prove statistically that the vast majority of these kids are at a higher GPA at this school, I can prove these students are seldom in the office for discipline," Trujillo said. "It's all about brain development" through music.

Replay ... is patterned after a program Utah Public Radio general manager Cathy Ives says she successfully ran in New Hampshire. It aims is to gather $100,000 worth of instruments to boost music programs in public schools.

The drive runs through April 15.

Granite District's similar program, run through the Granite Education Foundation for the past few years, has brought in up to 60 donated instruments, music specialist Clint Frohm said.

The Nebo Education Foundation has received a couple instruments, mainly violins, every year under its program, too, executive director Lana Hiskey said.

If Replay ... inspires more giving, that's fine with them.

"The needs are pretty great," especially for smaller instruments such as violin, flute, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet, and in elementary schools, Frohm said. "We would never turn anything down."

E-mail: [email protected]