Blues News

Donation of the Week

KTBA Donates to Mariachi Program

oklahoma city, ok – Thanks to your generosity, Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation donated to Fillmore Elementary School this week.  Instead of the usual guitar donation however, we needed to keep this one special; The school requested a vihuela for their mariachi music program!

That’s right – in Oklahoma City, there is a booming hispanic population!  U.S. Census Bureau data stated that between the year 2000 and 2010, the hispanic community grew by 95% this is due to low unemployment rates and its central location.

This is one of the reasons why, back in 2006, a mariachi program was initiated at Fillmore Elementary – to meet the students in a cultural comfort zone where they would not only have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of music instruction, but also become ambassadors and proud members of their uniquely diverse society.  By aligning the curriculum at school with a similar cultural stimuli that exists in the home, students are constantly exposed to the material, hence allowing them to learn quicker and with better understanding of the material.  In some cases, the parents and other family members can even elaborate on the music of their heritage, and the students will take more pride in their work.

Mr. Osborn elaborates, “We started with 12 students eight years ago – now we are pushing 140 students!  It is a struggle to meet the increasing demand. My students are mostly Hispanic and attend a high-poverty inner-city school.  Since most of my students rely on the school to provide instruments, it is up to me to be their advocate.”

With the constant changes in legislature and tax reform for non-profits and public education systems, music and arts programs are usually on the chopping block when it comes to releasing “dead-weight” expenses. However, we know that Mr. Osborn doesn’t have to face these challenges alone – KTBA could be a big help for him, his school and its student body.

“Our budget-strapped district doesn’t have the resources to provide each willing child with an instrument,” Mr. Osborn adds.  “Learning music is a great way for my students to express themselves creatively. It also offers an avenue for scholarships and grants towards the cost of college. And, finally, this program has become a point of pride within the school and the surrounding community. Each year we get more and more opportunities to share our talents with the surrounding community.”

After some research of the area and the anonymous contributor via, KTBA donated to Mr. Osborn’s cause – outfitting his class with the vihuela kit to round out the inventory for the upcoming semester.

Dear Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation,

Thank you so much for supporting my Mariachi program. When the district started this program 9 years ago, they purchased 24 instruments, and I had 20 students participate. The program has spread to 3 schools and I currently have 145 students participating. Out of those students, only around 30 are able to provide their own instruments. This vihuella will help insure that my program can continue to grow regardless of my students ability to purchase their own instruments. Thanks again for your help!With gratitude,
Mr. Osborn

Together, we were able to assist Mr. Osborn’s classroom, but he isn’t the only one!  If you would like to be a part of next week’s success story, make a donation by clicking here!


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