The of South Bethlehem, in partnership with the national nonproﬁt Music4More, announced June 6 it is seeking public donations of musical instruments or monetary donations to place instruments in the hands of students who want to learn to play them.
The new initiative will be called “SOStenuto,” which is an Italian musical term, sostenuto, derived from the Latin verb “sustinere,” meaning to uphold or sustain.
“With our new SOStenuto program, the Youniversity of Music and Arts would like to make a meaningful contribution to supporting music education in Lehigh Valley's public school system,” said Dr. Antonius Bittmann, co-founder of the school. “There are many school children in our community who cannot afford an instrument, and there are school music programs that don't own enough instruments for their bands and orchestras.”
He added that many people may have instruments they no longer play and may want to donate. The school is also accepting monetary donations towards the program.
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan took the ﬁrst step to launch the program by donating his used guitar to Amy Putlock, music teacher at Broughal for the school's collection.
“Music has a way of bringing people together in very profound ways. We have seen that time and again with the many festivals we host in the city from the Bach Choir to Musikfest,” Callahan said. “Children learn in very different ways and music education is important to achieve as well.”
Putlock spoke ﬁrsthand about the school's need for additional instruments.
“We simply do not have enough for all the students who want to play,” she said. “We try and share and stagger lesson times, but it is extremely challenging and very difﬁcult to tell a student he or she just can't play.”
The Youniversity, which opened in mid-2011, offers music classes and private lessons for all ages and levels of ability. The community school, located at 700 Evans St., will serve as a drop-off point for the instruments and will work with Music 4 More to evaluate, clean and repair the instruments when necessary.
All donations to SOStenuto will be fully tax-deductible and funneled through Music 4 More, a 501(c)3 nonproﬁt with a mission to support struggling school and community music programs throughout the U.S.