Support Lehigh Valley area schools by donating your used instruments to YOUniversity of Music & Arts.
he 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.
Valentina Jotovic, the Youniversityʼs CEO, added that in addition to the instrument collection, the Youniversity will also offer educational services to area public schools. She said that the Youniversity faculty will offer free clinics at schools and that public school teachers will receive a 10% tuition discount for 60-minute music lessons at the Youniversity.
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.
“Our primary focus is collecting and repairing used musical instruments and recycling them back into local school systems,” said Deidra Stevens, President and Founder of Music 4 More. Stevens traveled from Music 4 Moreʼs Baltimore headquarters to be on hand for the announcement.
Mayor Callahan took the first step to launch the program by donating his used guitar to Amy Putlock, music teacher at Broughal for the schoolʼs collection. As a group of middle school students looked on, Callahan spoke about how he became interested in music when he was in school and that it led to his playing in several bands. He continues to perform locally, when he has the time. ! Putlock spoke firsthand about the schoolʼs 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 canʼt play.”
Bittman said the Youniversity of Music and Arts website has additional information about SOStenuto and individuals who wish to donate an instrument or make a financial contribution may do so there. Lehigh Valley schools may also access a form to express their need for instruments on the site: www.youniversityofmusicandarts.com.
The Youniversity, which opened in mid-2011, offers music classes and private lessons for all ages and levels of ability. Located in Bethlehemʼs SouthSide Arts District, the school occupies a 15-classroom facility and is staffed by more than 15 music professionals. The Youniversity of Music and Arts is owned jointly by Valentina Jotovic, C.E.O., and her husband, Dr. Antonius Bittmann, an Associate Dean and Professor of Music at Rutgers University.