Bay District Schools Receive $50,000 Instrument Donation to Replace Those Destroyed by Hurricane Michael

PANAMA CITY, Florida (February 26, 2019)Panama City-based Bay High School and Merritt Brown Middle School received a boost today from local instrument dealer Playground Music Center and Yamaha Corporation of America, who replaced several instruments that were lost due to Hurricane Michael this past October.
From left: Tony Leonard, owner, Playground Music Center; Melissa Gray, band director, Merritt Brown Middle School; Nick Efstathiou, band director, Bay High School; and Dino Riccio, district manager, Yamaha.
The school suffered immense damage as a result of the hurricane. The buildings that make up the middle and high school closely approached a total loss, although the band rooms which housed all of the music program's sheet music, instruments and furniture did, in fact, suffer a total loss. The donation, amounting to more than $50,000, included percussion and wind instruments. More than 1,200 students participate in district-wide music programs and the donation of instruments will serve them as they move forward from the natural disaster and continue with their education.
The instruments were presented during a special ceremony at Bay High School on February 26, 2019. The presentation was made to Nick Efstathiou, Bay High School band director, and Melissa Gray, Merritt Brown Middle School band director by Tony Leonard of Playground Music Center and Dino Riccio of Yamaha.
"This donation, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, is deeply appreciated. Music is such an integral part of a well-rounded education and many of our students were devastated after the loss of their beloved instruments," said Bill Husfelt, superintendent, Bay District Schools. "We'd like to thank Yamaha and the Playground Music Center for their efforts to assist in our music programs and we look forward to hearing our students play and enjoy their new instruments."
"Music education is incredibly important to us here at Yamaha, it's at the heart of everything we do. It provides a platform for academic success and we are committed to supporting young musicians and providing substantial tools to help them toward their future in music," said Lisa Steele-MacDonald, director of marketing, Yamaha Corporation of America. "While the effects of Hurricane Michael were a tragedy, we hope this donation by Yamaha and Playground Music Center to the district's music programs help in continuing the student's involvement in music and assist them in reaching their highest potential."