Blues Angel Music Foundation Donates Ukuleles to Florida Classrooms

Elizabeth Dale

Blues Angel Music Foundation, a non-profit established by NAMM Members Jim and Nan DeStefney, owners of Blues Angel Music, are providing class sets of ukuleles for up to 12 teachers for the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to the instrument donation, the foundation will be working with participating educators, implementing a rewarding ukulele program in their classrooms.

A decade ago, Blues Angel Music began teaching a free weekly ukulele class. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of these weekly classes. However, one long-time participant, Janet Bright, had such a positive experience with the program that she endowed $10,000 to the foundation upon her passing. To honor Bright’s love for the ukulele program, the foundation decided to utilize the generous donation to bring ukuleles into the classroom and inspire the next generation of music makers.

Blues Angel Music - About Us

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Established in 2014, the Blues Angel Music Foundation (BAM) was born out of the DeStefney’s desire to make a difference in people’s lives utilizing the power of music. After donating for years to organizations like the Belmont Youth Band, the Pensacola Choral Society, the Pensacola Symphony, the Waterfront Rescue Mission, and Guitars for Vets, the husband-and-wife team felt that they could do more. Utilizing a $200 donation, the 501(c)3 organization was founded and continues to spread music to “places it doesn’t currently exist.”

Since then, the foundation has provided scholarships for adults and children to participate in programs including music lessons and music therapy for individuals diagnosed with callosal syndrome or on the autism spectrum. The organization has also donated instruments to homeless shelters, nursing homes, private and public schools and provided volunteers to school districts to secure awards and grants including presenting The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education and the Support Music Merit Award.

The ukulele donation initiative has already designated four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one after-school program to receive the set of instruments. Dan Fugate, Blues Angel Music Foundation administrative director, said, “The ukulele is such a wonderful instrument to learn. The small scale and nylon strings are easier on young fingers, and students who play an instrument tend to perform better in their other classes. Music is the universal language that can bring people together, and the educational benefits can only improve the lives of these children.”

The Blues Angel Music Foundation is still seeking five to six schools or after-school programs in Florida’s Escambia and Santa Rosa County that are in need. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Fugate at The distribution of the instruments is set for the weeks leading up to the 2021-2022 school year.

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