Instruments of healing

June 08, 2007

For some people, retirement just means time to take on more projects. Sarge Wright is one of them.


The “retired” Cal-Nevada pastor serves as chaplain at St. Mark’s UMC in Sacramento and is chairman of the Conference Spiritual Aims and Human Values Committee. It was in the latter capacity that he took on the challenge of spearheading the public relations campaign for a special hurricane relief project initiated in February by Carmichael Kiwanis Club.


The project aimed at putting music back in the lives of middle school students in a New Orleans suburb devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Through conversations with school officials and Kiwanis Club members in Metairie, Louisiana, Sarge Wright learned that neither the schools nor the parents of the students have the funds to replace the instruments lost to the hurricane. Wanting to ensure that the children have music education and a band to brighten their spirits, the chaplain began broadcasting an appeal for donations of new and used band instruments.


Numerous Sacramento-area churches and Kiwanis clubs collected the donations and at the end of May more than 100 band instruments were shipped to New Orleans at no cost by AFB Trucking Company in Sacramento. Sarge Wright traveled to New Orleans where he spoke to a Kiwanis group about the project before personally presenting the instruments to middle school officials on June 7. In an email to Instant Connection, Rev. Wright said the schools are “very grateful and overwhelmed by the response.”


“Providing musical appreciation for the students and the schools,” he wrote, “is indeed a very worthwhile mission to a terribly distressed area of our own country.”


Another opportunity to contribute

If you have a passion for helping rebuild the music programs in New Orleans schools but weren’t able to take part in the instrument drive you’ll have an opportunity to donate instruments through your laity and clergy delegates to this year’s Annual Conference Session.


Delegates are being encouraged to involve their congregations in collecting musical instruments to refurbish for school bands and music programs in New Orleans – along with cell phones, eye glasses and hearing aids. (Cell phones do not need to be in working condition but all other items should be.)


The instruments, eye glasses, hearing aids and cell phones may be dropped in boxes to be located just inside the door of the Annual Conference Room (Halls A & B combined) at the Sacramento Convention Center during Annual Conference Session, June 19-24.