Yamaha and Traveling Guitar Foundation Partner to Help Build School Music Programs

6/17/2010 [Guitars & Basses]

Yamaha Announces a Working Relationship With the Traveling Guitar Foundation, Pledging to Provide Low-Cost Guitars and Keyboards

Damon Marks

Damon Marks - Traveling Guitar

BUENA PARK, Calif. - Guitarist and songwriter Damon Marks has performed and recorded with many top names in the music business. He also enjoys giving back and is a co-founder of the Traveling Guitar Foundation, based in Scotch Plains, N.J., which provides musical instruments for schools that lack well-developed music programs.

In 2010, Damon performed with R&B recording artist Jermaine Paul, for Alicia Keys' "Freedom Tour." Keys, a Yamaha Keyboard Artist, spoke highly about their relationship with Yamaha and Senior Vice President Rick Young, telling Marks that Yamaha would make a great fit with his foundation.

Since coming to the United States fifty years ago, Yamaha has been a strong supporter of music education and announces that it has developed a working relationship with the Traveling Guitar Foundation, pledging to provide low-cost Gigmaker Electric Guitar kits and digital keyboards that the foundation will donate to worthy schools.

"We are always seeking ways to put instruments into the hands of students because the value of active music-making in a child's life is incalculable," said Rick Young, Senior Vice President at Yamaha Corporation of America.

Gigmaker Electric Guitar kits include everything a beginner guitarist needs to get started, including a Pacifica PAC012 guitar, an amplifier and a host of other accessories. Yamaha makes a wide range of keyboards that represent the entire spectrum of quality and value for keyboard players at every level of proficiency.

The Traveling Guitar Foundation derives its name from two custom guitars that are constructed each year by foundation co-founder Keith Ballurio of Ballurio Guitars in Manassas, Virginia. These guitars go on tour for a year and are placed in the hands of famous guitarists, who play and sign them. The guitars are auctioned off at the end of the year and the proceeds help the foundation fulfill its mission.

"Yamaha is a legendary company that helps bring strength and expertise to the foundation," said Marks. "Guitars and keyboards are the two hottest instruments of choice for students and Yamaha makes some of the best guitars and keyboards in the world."

Thanks to extensive media coverage, Marks' foundation is functioning as a "well-oiled machine," he says, and there's no shortage of schools seeking him out for musical equipment. When he visits a school, he tries to bring along young artists to perform and well-known music personalities to help deliver the message and the goods, including Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and music producer and mogul Kasseem "SWIZZ BEATZ" Dean, to name a few. Sponsoring artists include renowned guitarists Eric Johnson, Bruce Kulick and Steve Lukather.

The new relationship with Yamaha "lets us continue to grow," said Marks, "so now we can increase our presence and bring the value of music education to a bigger audience."

Learn more about the Foundation at http://travelingguitar.org/.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail infostation@yamaha.com; visit www.yamaha.com/press.

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