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Eastman School of Music’s National Association for Music Education(NAfME) Chapter will be holding an instrument drive from Feb. 1 to Mar. 31. This drive, along with two benefit concerts, held on Mar. 3 and 31, will benefit the local music programs in the Rochester City School District.

“I came up with the idea over the summer,” Eastman graduate student Emeric Viani said. “I was brainstorming a way to do some sort of community service initiative.”

This is Viani’s second year as president of Eastman’s chapter of NAfME. He is currently studying for his master’s in both ethnomusicology and music education. Viani, along with Vice President and sophomore William Rich, Treasurer and sophomore James Robbins and Secretary and freshman Bridget Kinneary, have all been the masterminds in executing the drive and concerts.

Although new to Eastman’s NAfME chapter, musical instrument drives are not new to the Rochester area. According to Viani, the Rochester Educational Foundation has been doing an annual instrument drive since 2005 to benefit Eastman’s pathway program, an initiative which strives to provide excellent Rochester City School District students with the opportunity to pursue their musical education at Eastman.

Viani explained that as part of this drive, there will be five drop-off locations for instruments throughout the city. These instruments will be collected and then refurbished, repaired or, if they are in very bad shape, disassembled. Afterward, these new instruments will be distributed as needed throughout the Rochester city schools by the Rochester City School District.

Viani also touched upon the two benefit concerts being held in March.

At these concerts, there will be multiple performers, including trombonist junior Matt Norman and mezzo soprano graduate student Sarah Toca.

Toca became involved in the concerts after receiving an email from Viani. She will be performing a set of eight songs called, “Frauenliebe und-leben” or, in English, “A Woman’s Life and Love.”

Toca performed this set in a recital last semester. However, this time she hopes that  she can truly educate the audience about the music in some way.

“It’s going to be more of a lecture recital,” Toca said. “Basically, an introduction to the piece.”

Toca wants to give viewers a “window into classical vocal repertoire” so they can begin to understand the great works of  the classical academic world.

Viani also stated that all the money raised through these concerts will go to the Rochester City School District in order to purchase and repair instruments to help stimulate music education in the area and give young students the chance to learn and play a musical instrument of higher quality.

“In light of the budget cuts that happened last year, there are a lot of students that do not have access to instruments throughout the city,” Viani said. “They don’t have the opportunity to learn the instrument they are interested in.”

Both Viani and Toca know the impact music can have on young lives, and the importance of teaching music in schools.

“I’ve grown up with music my whole life,” Toca said. “For me, the biggest thing is the community aspect it brings.”

Toca described how music truly gives people a sense of unity. It brings them together to work on a common goal, through different groups such as choirs and bands.

“It made me understand that beauty takes work,” Toca said. “And we’re all just trying to uncover this beauty that does exist.”

Viani also agreed on the importance and power of music and, especially, music in schools.

According to Viani, “getting older, and seeing the effects that music teachers have on their students, I don’t know many other fields that are so inspired. It’s had a pretty deep impact.”

Cozen is a member of the class of 2015.

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