RES students receive ukuleles from Friends of Music

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Schools is pleased to accept two generous donations from the Friends of Music. The Shepherdstown-based non-profit group donated seven Diamond Head four-string soprano ukuleles to Ranson Elementary School. The group also provided grant funding to purchase eight new guitars at Wildwood Middle School. 

RES music teacher Bonnie Pullen requested the ukuleles so the school would have enough of the instruments for all the students in her largest class.

"These new ukuleles help finish up a classroom set so all students can have an instrument in their hands," said Ms. Pullen. "Playing ukuleles provides a great new opportunity for these students to improve rhythm, coordination, reading, endurance, and fine-tune their listening. Plus, they get to feel like rock stars while doing it. I can't wait to see how their skills will grow with this new avenue of music-making at our school."

The WMS grant came at the request of the school's chorus and music teacher, Molly Wildman, for her 8th grade music students, who use guitars as part of their music studies. 

"This grant allowed me to purchase enough guitars so that every student in each 8th grade class will have a quality instrument to use," said Wildman. 

She also noted that her storage space has transformed into an organized and clean space providing better protection for the instruments. 

"I think they will develop even more appreciation and respect for the instrument and learning experience as they see the instruments hanging with care," she said. 

Both gifts are part of a Friends' grant program to support music education in Eastern Panhandle schools with instruments and music supplies not covered by regular school budgets. The Friends also provide scholarships to talented local students pursuing music degrees. 

The Friends of Music was founded in 1999 to support and promote musical excellence. It supports the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, the only professional classical music orchestra in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and one of only three such orchestras in the state. More information about the organization is available at