Gasparilla Music Festival provides students with slightly used instruments

TAMPA, Florida – This Friday kicks off the Gasparilla Music Festival. When purchasing a ticket, remember that it’s not just about the bands on stage, it’s about the next generation of musical talent right here in Tampa Bay.

Leon Maicen may be performing at the festival this Sunday, but he still has time to entertain fifth-graders at West Tampa Elementary School.

“It takes me back to when I was nine and bought a guitar for the first time, you can only experience it once, but see these kids and their passion for music. music really brings me back to that, ”Maicen said.

Each year, the money raised by the festival is donated to the Recycled Tunes program, which provides lightly used instruments to title a Hillsborough County school like West Tampa Elementary.

“Well, it’s great to know that you see some of your favorite bands playing and while you do that you are supporting local schools and a great cause,” said Taylor Raynor of the Recycled Tunes program. “One of my favorite things is when I walk into a classroom with a handful of instruments, all the students light up and it’s beautiful to see them play.

Music teacher Ashley Gillespie said instruments are expensive, for many of her students it’s the only opportunity they will have to play guitar or keyboard.

“These students are the future music creators and music appreciators, they are the ones who are going to buy those concert tickets later or make the music later,” said Gillespie.

One touch and these students are already dreaming big.

“Someday I want to be a songwriter,” Jeilani said.

“I want to be a musician and an artist when I grow up,” Pepe said.

Gillespie says it’s good to know that there are organizations like Recycled Tunes that deal with the arts in schools.

“It’s really stressful being a teacher right now, but it’s worth it when you see how excited kids are to do something,” Gillespie said.

For more information on the program, visit

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