The Les Paul Foundation Helped “Little Kids Rock” Across the Country with a Grant and Surprise Instrument DeliveryAugust 5, 2014 by Les Paul Foundation
Keith Hejna/Little Kids Rock Caroline Galloway/Les Paul Foundation
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Students in New York and Chicago Jam from 800 Miles Away via Videoconference and Celebrate Les Paul
New York, NY – December 12, 2013 – The Les Paul Foundation awarded Little Kids Rock with a grant that will power music education initiatives in public schools over the next year. To further the partnership, the foundation’s Executive Director Michael Braunstein visited Lower Manhattan Community Middle School- MS896, a Little Kids Rock school in New York City, on Wednesday, December 11th surprising the students with a delivery of Epiphone Les Paul electric guitars. Simultaneously, supporters of Little Kids Rock’s Chicago chapter delivered Epiphone Les Paul electric guitars to Edwards Elementary in Chicago and the young rockers jammed via Skype from nearly 800 miles away! The guitars will be used to augment the successful Little Kids Rock music programs.
Longtime drummer for Billy Joel and Little Kid Rock honorary board member Liberty DeVitto joined the group in New York City and gave students a master class on drumming.
Students in Chicago and New York City learned about Les Paul’s contributions to modern music and received T-shirts for their answers to trivia questions. With the help of the Les Paul Foundation, Little Kids Rock will be able to give kids across the country access to music education. The donation comes as budget cuts are eliminating music programming from public schools nationwide. This donation embodies the spirit and legacy of Les Paul, who was a long-time supporter of music education and an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock before his passing in 2009.
“Les was passionate about working towards transforming children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in public schools,” said Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation. “Les loved being an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock and I am sure he would be overjoyed at his foundation’s support today.”
Little Kids Rock is the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of free music lessons and instruments to under-served public school districts across the country, currently serving over 118,000 children in 25 cities. The nonprofit organization’s curriculum, called “Modern Band,” is rooted in teaching kids to perform, improvise and compose the popular musical styles that they know and love, such as pop, rock, hip hop, blues, country, reggae and funk.
“We are so grateful to the Les Paul Foundation for investing in the next generation,” says Little Kids Rock Executive Director and Founder, David Wish. “Through their contributions to Little Kids Rock, thousands of kids will receive the lifelong gift of music education, and the legacy of a true rock and roll legend will live on in the music that they learn to play and the successful lives they will lead because of it.”
About Little Kids Rock
Little Kids Rock is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that transforms children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in public schools. Little Kids Rock was founded in San Francisco in 2002 by David Wish, an elementary school teacher who had grown frustrated with the lack of music education funding at his school. Today, Little Kids Rock is one of the leading nonprofit providers of free lessons and instruments to underprivileged children in US public schools, and has served more than 250,000 students at over 1,700 schools in 25 cities nationwide. Little Kids Rock Honorary Board Members include Bonnie Raitt, Slash, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Ziggy Marley and other well-loved artists. More information can be found at: www.littlekidsrock.org.
About The Les Paul Foundation
The mission of the Les Paul Foundation is to honor and share the life, spirit, and legacy of Les Paul by supporting music education, engineering and innovation as well as medical research. The Les Paul Foundation is an approved IRC 501(c) 3 organization that awards grants to music, music engineering, and sound programs that serve youths. It establishes music-related scholarships and provides grants for medical research and programs relating to hearing impairment. The Les Paul Foundation also supports public exhibits displaying Les Paul’s life achievements. Learn more at .
Photo 1 – Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation (center) joins the students at the Little Kids Rock School in New York City during a surprise visit and presentation of Epiphone electric guitars. Also joining Braunstein was Keith Hejna (far right) of the Little Kids Rock organization and popular drummer Liberty DeVitto (left of Epiphone sign). The visit was an extension of the current partnership between the Les Paul Foundation and Little Kids Rock. Students were quizzed on Les Paul trivia and learned more about his legacy during the visit. Photo credit: Tracy Spielberger/ Little Kids Rock
Photo 2: Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of Les Paul Foundation talks with the students at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, MS896, a Little Kids Rock School during a visit where he also presented the students with Epiphone Les Paul guitars. During the visit the students jammed with fellow students in Chicago from Edwards Elementary which was done by videoconferencing. For more information on the Les Paul Foundation go to and for more information on Little Kids Rock go to . Photo credit: Courtesy Tracy Spielberger/Little Kids Rock.