Lehigh Valley

Real life "School of Rock" comes to Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Hundreds of music teachers in Allentown are unleashing their "inner rock star," as they take part in a modern rock workshop.

And they are singing the praises of a company that's sending them home with a whole new set of instruments for their students.

The program is called Little Kids Rock.

But the big kids, all of Allentown's music teachers, were the ones rocking out at Dieruff High School.

"This is outstanding! What a wonderful surprise to be able to do this," says Allentown School District music teacher William Wagner.Little Kids Rock is national non-profit that's all about getting music into public schools. This workshop is focused on tips about modern music because that's what the kids listen to these days.

"We want them to form a bond here and then keep that bond going as they build a community of educators throughout the Allentown community," says Bryan Powell, Director of Higher Education and Program Effectiveness for Little Kids Rock.

"To get instruments along with the professional development training, is fantastic!" exclaims Allentown School District music teacher Joe Busolits.

Thanks to a $185,000 donation from Niagara Bottling - which has a plant in Allentown - these teachers will each leave with a full set of modern instruments for their classrooms.

"Getting a guitar into a kids' hands, gives them an outlet to express themselves," Williams says.

Busolits adds, "That really makes the difference between a good idea, and something I can make work in my schools."

And at a time when budget restrictions have forced some cutbacks in certain programs, like music, these teachers say, this kind of gift means that much more.

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a music teacher, because I admired my music teachers and it's the greatest honor for me, to work with students and pass that along to my kids," Williams tells us.

"I'm the one that gets to be the rock star, because these kids are going to get instruments in their hands," Busolits smiles.

And that, just rocks.

To learn more about Little Kids Rock, visit littlekidsrock.org.

To find out more about Niagara Bottling and its philanthropic programs through Niagara Cares, visit niagarawater.com.


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