Usher helps bring instruments and music education to 20 schools in Tennessee county

Usher was not able to be with the group for the announcement, but he sent a message to the selected schools. (Image: WTVC)

Hamilton County students will soon have a chance for unique opportunities in music - and it's all thanks to non-profits and one music superstar from Chattanooga.

On Wednesday, Usher's Nancy Lackey Community Education Fund and national music education nonprofit Little Kids Rock announced a partnership to launch Little Kids Rock education programs in 20 new Hamilton County Schools.

Schools that have been selected will receive new instruments, training for teachers, and more opportunities for students. Through the modern band method, school officials say it puts a focus on music kids already listen to daily.

“It’s amazing," Kaela Miller, a choir teacher at Hunter Middle School said. “Just getting hands-on with them {the kids}, putting an instrument in their hands, and giving them the opportunity to touch instruments is amazing.”

Awards for the music programs took place at Brainerd High School. Teachers were given a special Little Kids Rock shirt. A few instruments selected schools would receive were on display for everyone to view and test out.

Through the modern band method, school officials say it puts a focus on music kids already listen to daily.

“Modern band is something that our kids dabble in especially when it comes to sounds and beats," Christopher James, Executive Principal of Brainerd High School said.

More than 500,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs nationwide.

Usher wasn't able to make it, but he made sure to send a message virtually.

“As a child, music changed my life. It gave me a creative outlet, a new language to use to communicate, and it continued to be a driving force in everything that I did, do, and will do. I’m very excited to pay it forward," Usher said in a video.

“We have always admired Usher, his tremendous talent, and his passion for bringing music and arts education to so many deserving kids here in Chattanooga and across the country,” said David Wish, CEO of Little Kids Rock. “Being able to partner with him to bring music education and instruments to so many deserving students in the Chattanooga area is truly a dream partnership.”

Schools and teachers selected to receive the instruments and training for Little Kids Rock program include:

  • Dustin Dotzler, Wallace A. Smith Elementary
  • Callie Kilbourne, Wolftever Creek Elementary
  • Kaela Miller, Hunter Middle School
  • Michael Howard, Ooltewah Middle School
  • Tammy Fisher, Spring Creek Elementary
  • Roxanna Edwards, Tyner Academy
  • Pamela S. Watson, East Hamilton School
  • James McClary, Allen Elementary
  • Jeff McKnight, Middle Valley Elementary
  • Stefan Logue, Soddy Daisy Middle
  • Sara Daniels, Hixson Middle
  • Sarah Tortora, Hardy Elementary
  • Brandon Middlebrooks, Calvin Donaldson Elementary
  • Jacob Burgess, Orchard Knob Elementary
  • Tracey Frazier, Brainerd High
  • Jerome Souther, Woodmore Elementary
  • Amy Smith, Alpine Crest Elementary
  • Kaylee Stowers, Red Bank High
  • Erin McKee, Normal Park Upper