READING, Pa. - It was a packed house for the All-City Elementary School Concert in Reading.
But in addition to listening to music, parents and students were also in for a surprise.
The Reading Musical Foundation teamed up with Freedom Auto Group and Menchey Music Service to purchase 61 instruments for next year's middle school & intermediate high school students.
"We are so excited," said Reading Musical Foundation president Keri Shultz.
Earlier this year, the school district had to turn away 94 students, who previously participated in the music program, because of a lack of instruments.
"It is the worst part of our job because they have already studied a year or two with an elementary teacher and they come and they want to play and you have to say, I am so sorry," said middle school band director Cindy Miller-Aungst.
But when the Reading Musical Foundation found out, it wanted to step in and help.
"We just want to make sure kids have every opportunity possible to find success in whatever path they take, whether it is music or a different field. We just know that music can offer a lot to them along the way," said Shultz.
The school district has been tracking the success of music students in the district. It found that if students participate in the music program, they have a better chance of graduating and being at the top of their class.
So that is why donors Freedom Auto Group and Menchey Music Service wanted to get involved and say they were looking forward to seeing the kids' reaction.
"Smiles," said Menchey Music Service owner Joel Menchey.
"It is great to be able to donate to meaningful causes, but it is a totally different thing to be able to see the people you are supporting receiving the message and hearing the news," said Freedom Auto Group owner Eric Savage.
Students entering middle school next year say they are happy to hear about the donation.
"It is a good opportunity for me to keep going up to high school," said student Jared Espinoza.
Allentown, PA 18102