By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter —
This story first appeared online on Nov. 8, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – BancFirst is continuing its partnership with the nonprofit A Chance to Play, which provides new and refurbished musical instruments to students who can’t afford them.
Research shows that learning to play an instrument can be incredibly beneficial to the development of young people. In fact, even those who give up playing music when they reach their teenage years are positively impacted if they played an instrument when their brains were developing.
Playing music helps children in a variety of ways, so it’s important that kids spend at least some of their youth learning to play an instrument.
Used band and stringed instruments can be donated by taking them to the lobbies of any of the BancFirst locations in the Oklahoma City metro, said Jay Hannah, executive vice president of financial services.
“We believe every child deserves a chance to play,” said Hannah, who is also a musician,” Hannah said.
Hannah’s band, Billy Bob Bovine and the Embryo Transfer Band, performs benefit concerts for A Chance to Play.
The used instruments will be repaired or refurbished at Larsen Music in Oklahoma City and then donated to partner schools, according to Walt Myrick, piano department manager for Larsen Music.
“The last thing we want, or any band director wants, is to have a student who wants to be in band and can’t financially swing it,” Myrick said.
“Playing any musical instrument makes you use both sides of your brain at the same time,” Myrick said. “It’s fun. It creates teamwork and self-discipline. It’s a part of their life they will never forget.
“Larsen Music has three employees who use state-of-the-art equipment to repair instruments, including some that have been in attics for decades, Myrick said. “Repair technicians replace pads on clarinets, flutes and saxophones, restore frozen valves and tuning slides on trumpets and fix bent slides on trombones,” he added.
“It’s amazing to see an instrument come in that’s not playable, and after they work their magic, it plays like it’s new,” Myrick said.
People can also donate instruments by taking them directly to Larsens, at 4001 NW 63rd Street, in Oklahoma City.
Myrick noted that Larsen Music started volunteering with A Chance to Play at the suggestion of Hal Clifford, a member of the contemporary bluegrass and country band Mountain Smoke, which raises money and collects instruments for the nonprofit during its concerts.
Jim Barnett, a graduate of Taft Middle School and Northwest Classen High School, helped launch A Chance to Play five years ago after Taft identified musical instruments as a critical need.
A Chance to Play promotes playing an instrument as an essential component for the development of a child, thereby emphasizing a basic right enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 31).
The organization has given away dozens of refurbished instruments and provided money for rentals and repairs.
For a map of BancFirst locations to make a donation, visit bankcfirst.bank or call 844-545-3059.