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Musical instrument giveaway is March 18 and 19 for those who lost instruments in the tornadoes

InstrumentsDonated
Cathy Currier
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Some of the hundreds of instruments donated to the WoodSongs Tornado Relief Effort are being restored at Currier's Music World in Richmond, Kentucky.

The December tornadoes caused Kentuckians across the state to suffer so much loss - loss of home, loss of loved ones, loss of peace of mind.

But Michael Jonathan, creator and host of the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, recorded at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington, declared that the tornadoes are not going to force people to lose the joy of music.

The WoodSongs Tornado Relief Effort has collected about 1,000 donated instruments.
They’ll be given away on March 18 and 19 to anyone who lost an instrument in the tornadoes.

Currier’s Music World in Richmond, Kentucky is a collection and restoration center for the instruments. WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Cathy Currier about the truckloads of instruments that have arrived from Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Tennessee and beyond.

John Hamlett & Dough Naselroad
Currier's Music World
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John Hamlett and Doug Naselroad are among a group restoring instruments for the WoodSongs Tornado Relief Effort at Currier's Music World in Richmond, Kentucky.

Currier: Well, you know, at this point, I think I have one of everything made - clarinets, flutes, trumpets, lots of guitars, banjos, violins, one dobro, mandolins. We have harmonicas. Somebody gave me a beautiful sound board yesterday. We're hoping that a church will be able to use. Guitar amps andd amplifiers. I swear, almost everything.

Miller: Where are you keeping all these things?

Currier: Well, I am really lucky to have my square footage in my store is about 8,000 square feet. What's funny is when Michael called me in December or January, I can't remember now, we were in the process of trying to get rid of the basement, give it up to sublease, to curtail some of our rent. And then Michael calls me and says, “Youve got that big store. And this is what we're doing. And can you help me?” And I said, “Yeah.” We actually had somebody look at the basement the day he called me and I said, “Yeah, we don't have any real, no takers yet for the basement. So, let's do this.” And I have 4,000- square-feet down there. Big area.

Miller: And obviously your basement is climate controlled.

Currier: Oh gosh, yeah, absolutely. We have drum lessons down there. I have a full wood shop down there. Because we talked to the landlord and he may not be raising our rent. So, we might be keeping the basement. It seems to be needed a lot here lately. So, we may have to revamp and rethink about getting rid of the basement because it comes in really handy.

Miller: And it doesn't sound like a real basement.

"This is Kentucky. There's no state in the union, I don't think, that has as many musicians in it, other than maybe Tennessee. I mean, you know, there's a guitar player on every corner.
Cathy Currier

Currier: Yeah, it's really nice and dry.

Miller: What have you been hearing? Or have you seen anything like this, as far as this collection of instruments for tornado victims?

Currier: No, never. Never. I've never heard of, you know, when you have big disasters, you always hear about food and clothing. And, you know, and things like that for people and helping them with shelter and necessities, whether it be a toaster oven or whatever, microwaves. But I've never heard of anybody, like Michael Jonathan came up with this because this is, he knows this is what's so important to us is music.

Cathy Currier, Michael Jonathan, Al White
Currier's Music World
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Cathy Currier, left, Michael Johnathan, center, and Al White are among those restoring instruments for the WoodSongs Tornado Relief Effort.

I mean, I'm in a little bitty town of 60,000 people and my business has been thriving and successful for 55 years because there's so many instruments around to be fixed and to be sold and to be, you know, we teach here. It’s such a need. And that's why I really love being involved with it. You know, music is very dear to my heart. So, I couldn't say no to Michael because I usually would never say no to somebody who asked me for something if it's within my power to do it.

Miller: So, you're basically restoring a lot or many of the instruments.

Currier: Every single one of them, just about.

Miller: That sounds great. Well, Kathy, that's really, really interesting. That's that sounds like a fantastic project. Thank you, Kathy. Good talking to you. Bye bye.

Currier: Thank you, Rhonda. Bye.

Miller: I've been talking with Cathy Currier from her family-owned business Currier’s Music World. The instruments will be given away on Friday, March 18 at the graves County Public Library in Mayfield. There'll be given away on Saturday, March 19 at the West Dawson Music Venue in Dawson springs and also at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro. For more information or to request an instrument go to woodsongs.com/tornado
I'm Rhonda Miller in Bowling Green.

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Here is the distribution information for individuals, schools or groups that lost an instrument in the tornadoes and would like to get a replacement instrument from this project:

Friday, March 18, 5-8 p.m.
Graves County Public Library
601 N 17th Street
Mayfield, Kentucky

Saturday, March 19, noon-4 p.m.
West Dawson Music Venue
3420 Huddleston Loop Road
Dawson Springs, Kentucky

Saturday, March 19, 6-8 p.m.
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
311 W 2nd Street
Owensboro, Kentucky

To reserve an instrument you can email
WFPA@woodsongs.com

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.