In late September, David Kidwell, a new member of the McLean Youth Orchestra, and his father Dr. Brian Kidwell, will accompany over $20,000 worth of donated instruments and music to the Crystal House School in Athlone, South Africa.
The instruments, including various strings, winds and brass, will be hand-delivered by the Kidwells via Airline Ambassadors, a not-for-profit organization made up of airline employees who use their flight privileges to deliver supplies to developing countries.
The Crystal House School is one of over 100 schools in the gang-ridden suburb of Athlone, near Cape Town. Crystal House is a combination school and safe house, providing 500 students a safe environment to learn and grow. The school provides all students chauffeured transportation home in the evenings.
Airline Ambassadors has already taken several donated clarinets to El Salvador on behalf of Dr. Kidwell and the McLean Youth Orchestra. The instruments were distributed to families of the Kiwanis Village and to an orphanage where the children are struggling to begin a music program.
The students of the McLean Youth Orchestra began collecting the instruments last year in hopes of having the instruments sent to a country in need. When new student David Kidwell and his father Dr. Brian Kidwell offered their services in partnership with Airline Ambassadors, the members of the McLean Youth Orchestra were delighted.
All of the donated instruments were cleaned, refurbished and given in new cases. According to the McLean Orchestra, the value of all instruments and services combined is now worth well over $20,000.
The McLean Youth Orchestra will also be sending six violin cases, three violins, two violas, one cello, replacement strings, rosin and shoulder rests to New Orleans.