Music Rising, a program administered by the Gibson Foundation and originally dedicated to rebuilding the Gulf Coast's music programs following Hurricane Katrina, has expanded its reach with a $25,000 donation to the Nashville Symphony to help rebuild its Instrument Petting Zoo. An integral part of the Symphony's music education program, the Instrument Petting Zoo is a collection of more than 50 instruments destroyed in the May flooding that affected much of the Middle Tennessee area, including the Symphony's concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Following two solid days of rain on May 1 and 2, the basement of Schermerhorn Symphony Center filled with 24 feet of water, or a total volume of roughly 5 million gallons. The building's mechanical operations and electrical systems were significantly damaged, as were a number of instruments stored in the building's basement. These included two grand pianos, the console for the concert hall's Martin Foundation Concert Organ, and the entire collection of instruments fondly known to children as the Instrument Petting Zoo. The total cost of all losses, including disaster response, cleanup, business interruption and restoration of the building, is approximately $42 million.
Thanks to the generosity of Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation along with several other donors, the Nashville Symphony has begun replacing many of the instruments in the Petting Zoo, which encourages people of all ages to try their hand at making music. The Zoo is a feature of the pre-concert activities at The Symphony's Ann & Monroe Carell Family Trust Pied Piper Series and it also travels around to area schools and community events.
"We are hugely grateful to the Gibson Foundation and Music Rising for helping us to rebuild this valuable educational resource," says Mitchell Korn, the Nashville Symphony's Vice President of Education and Community Engagement. "Music has the power to change lives, and for many people, our Instrument Petting Zoo may be their very first encounter in what we hope will be a lifelong engagement with making music."
Music Rising was founded in 2005 by U2's the Edge, producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz to help musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina and represents a diverse group of major supporters from the entertainment industry. Music Rising program recently expanded its efforts to help the Nashville music community by donating $250,000 to help musicians replace instruments lost in the flood. Partnering with The Recording Academy's MusiCares organization, Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation have already assisted over 100 musicians in the Nashville area. The $25,000 donation to the Nashville Symphony is part of these efforts.
For more information about the Nashville Symphony's music education programs, please visit NashvilleSymphony.org/education. For more information about Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation's assistance to the Nashville music community, please visit www.musicrising.org or www.gibsonfoundation.org.