REPUBLIC The Republic School District has received more than $5,000 worth of guitars and other equipment thanks to a fundraiser spearheaded by community member Steve Lichterman Cole.
Music teacher Thiry Titus said Cole posted on Facebook last summer that he had a band coming to Republic for a benefit for the music program. He knew the band through his work in event security.
“His kids have all been involved in music classes and he is passionate about live music, so he asked if he could make it a benefit to purchase guitars for the music department,” Titus said. “I said that we had only one guitar that was really functional in the department at the time, and that kids do ask all the time if they can play guitar but we don’t have that option right now.”
In the beginning, it was just a concert to raise money to buy a few guitars, Titus said, adding, “I was assuming it would be three or four if we were lucky.”
Cole then continued the Facebook campaign to raise money for the project, Guitars for Kids.
“He raised $500 in the first week and ended up raising $2,000 over the course of the month,” Titus said.
Cole and his wife, Karen Lichterman, arranged for the Republic Brewing Co. as a venue for the concert and began gathering donations for an auction. Many local people and businesses donated, and the auction and Facebook campaign combined raised more than $5,000.
“I attended the auction, which packed the brewery so tightly I couldn’t make it more than two feet in the door when I arrived just before the beginning of the event,” Titus said. “I was completely blown away by the generosity of the community.”
The fundraising effort allowed the purchase of 16 guitars, a bass and some other equipment, Titus said.
“We were all blown away by the generosity of the community and the funds raised far exceeded what we had originally discussed,” Titus said.
“Steve asked what other things he might be able to help with in the department. Our high hat is falling apart and we had a couple of microphones break last year, so he added those to the shopping list,” the teacher said.
The guitars and other equipment will be presented before the homecoming football game Oct. 25.
Students in fourth- through 12th-grades will be able to learn to play the guitar.
Auction items included a Fender guitar, donated by a musician friend of Cole’s and autographed by another musician, that sold for more than $400; a half-size guitar that was hand tiled by local artist Janee Covert; a gym membership; an airplane ride over Ferry County; a stay at the Northern Inn, plus packages put together by local individuals and businesses, handicrafts and home-baked goodies.
A cheesecake, baked by city Councilman Leo Jenkins, sold for more than $60, as did both a sheet of homemade almond candy donated by Jennifer Grey and a basket of chocolates handmade by Kristina’s Karma Kakes.
“The night wound up with several hours of great blues music by the two musicians Steve brought in who performed in a pass-the-hat donation style to benefit the purchase of guitars,” Titus said.
Junkyard Duo, featuring Billy Stoops and Leanne Trevalyan, performed.
“It was amazing to watch the outpouring of support for music and children from our community. I don’t think anyone could have imagined how successful this effort would be. I can’t wait to see the kids’ reaction to this huge addition to our program.”