Music students at Olathe High School receive a visit from Yamaha saxophone Artist George Shelby.

Meyer Music Helps Raise $60K for Music Students

Yamaha saxophone artist George Shelby played to a sold out crowd at the annual Band of Angels (BOA) Heart Strings Gala at the Madrid Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, raising $60,000 to benefit area music students.

The BOA program, initiated in 2011 as a partnership between Meyer Music and Fox 4 TV in Kansas City, provides musical instruments and summer music camp scholarships to young music students in financial need who want to join school band and orchestra programs.

At this year's gala — the most successful to date — 8th and 9th grade students Morgan and Connor Cravens shared the stage for two songs with Shelby and his band. The music students from Desoto, Kansas, played along on instruments donated to them through the BOA program. While in Kansas City for the gala, Shelby also presented jazz band clinics for music students at two local schools.

BOA has provided over 1,000 used musical instruments to Kansas and Missouri students who want to participate in beginning band and orchestra programs. The non-profit organization has also given 60 full scholarships to students for attendance at summer music camps.

"This program has really exceeded our initial expectations," said Mike Meyer, BOA chairman and president of Meyer Music. "Our goal was to take students with a strong desire, but not the financial resources, to participate in music. We wanted to help bring them into our music community. The beauty of BOA is that we are not only helping the kids, but we're also helping the music camps stay strong and viable for the future. It's a total win-win."

Honorary co-chairs for the 2016 BOA Heart Strings Gala were Nicky and Chris Getz. Nicky appeared in Season 23 of CBS's "The Amazing Race," and Chris is the former second baseman for the Kansas City Royals. The pre-gala donor reception featured orchestra students from the Ottawa, Kansas-based Ottawa Suzuki Strings Camp and a solo performance by Mariah Covington, who received a new performance-level viola and a scholarship for summer music camp.

"This is such a great event, and we are so proud to be involved and help these kids," said BOA board member and retired orchestra teacher, Kathleen McCullough."I was a student who was provided an instrument as a child, and it helped me to become an orchestra teacher. For many of these students this simple act of kindness could become their passion and potentially their career, too."