In the realm of music education, there exists a cadre of remarkable individuals whose unwavering dedication and boundless generosity impact thousands of students every year.
These extraordinary people harness their time, energy, passion, and resources to shape the future of our children through their invaluable contributions.
David Smith of Graystone Builders, Inc. of New Hampshire is one of these individuals, and the impact of dedicated donors like him is beyond measure. They help establish music programs, donate instruments, and fund scholarships. They create positive change in their communities and cultivate a generation of well-rounded individuals who can pursue their dreams. These visionary philanthropists give generously not only in terms of financial support but also through their steadfast commitment to sharing their passion and expertise.
The importance of music education is not lost on Smith because music has played such an instrumental role throughout his life. “Music is my life,” he explains. “I would not be able to function without music.” Driven by a desire to preserve the essence of the beloved music icons he grew up listening to, the donor recognized the importance of cultivating young talent who could carry the torch and keep the Blues alive through future generations.
Smith’s work in New Hampshire with Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and Music Will first began in 2017 at a Santana concert in St. Louis of which the proceeds from benefitted kids. After some research, he became a supporter of the Milagro Foundation and later launched the “New Hampshire Rocks!” program with his company, Milagro Foundation, Music Will, and the New Hampshire Department of Education to bring music education to 13 New Hampshire schools in 2020 – impacting nearly 6,000 kids.
Today, the program continues to expand students’ educational opportunities by allowing them to create, perform and connect through music by providing Music Will’s modern band curriculum and training to teachers. Many of these teachers also receive instruments for their classrooms. “New Hampshire Rocks!” has expanded from 13 to 32 schools in the state and counting, with 41 registered Music Will teachers receiving the training and resources to provide culturally responsive music education to thousands of New Hampshire students.
But it wasn’t easy, and Smith met many challenges along the way to make this possible for his community. It took a substantial amount of time and energy to forge the connections needed to get the program off the ground with the Department of Education and state legislature. But in the end, his hard work paid off. “The success was that the first round of funding benefitted 1,000 children, and the second round 10,000 children,” reflects Smith. “The New Hampshire Legislature now contributes on an ongoing basis and ‘New Hampshire Rocks!’ is embedded in the state’s curriculum.”
“Watching the growth of music education in my home state over the past several years has been exciting!” continues Smith. Teachers, students and families have come together around music, and “New Hampshire Rocks!” has provided kids with the opportunity to experience Music Will’s modern band program which they never would have been exposed to otherwise. “It allows kids to experience rock music they can relate to, and it has opened up a whole new world of music for kids,” Smith concludes.
The impact of David Smith’s efforts is immeasurable, and our work wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and passion of such donors. “David’s ongoing contributions have created opportunities for aspiring musicians to discover their own unique voices, empowering them to express themselves and unlock their full potential,” affirms Music Will Interim CEO, Janice Polizzotto. “We are so grateful for his commitment which has had an enduring impact on our mission and the lives of children we serve in New Hampshire.”