Music teacher sends 150 instruments to Zambia

A local music teacher has collected more than 150 music instruments after almost a year of gathering them for children in Zambia.

'Instruments for Africa' inspired by seeing students without instruments in Zambia

A local music teacher has collected music instruments for school children in Zambia. 2:05

A local music teacher has collected more than 150 music instruments after almost a year of gathering them for children in Zambia.

Todd Snelgrove got the idea after visiting a school in the country, located in southern Africa, and seeing the music program lacked instruments.

He visited a high school in Livingstone, Zambia in May 2012 and donated an acoustic guitar. Snelgrove then started "Instruments for Africa" when he returned to Canada.

"When I got back I realized that was a very small fix for a much larger problem," he said, deciding to enlist people in Ottawa.

"If people went down to their basements and up to their attics and dusted off a few cases, they might find that there's some saxophones and flutes and trumpets in this city that people don't need," he said.

He put the call out to Ottawa's music community and he now has a pile of workable, playable instruments in his basement.

"We've received trumpets, trombones, flutes, baritones, double bass, viola, keyboards, guitars, ukeleles, all kinds of things. And we're getting everything serviced," he said.

Exceeded expectations

He said his call for donations has resulted in an overwhelming amount of gifts.

"I initially wanted to outfit the one school with a concert band full of instruments. And frankly we've exceeded those expectations already," he said.

He's now working with Zambia's Ministry of Education to distribute the rest of the instruments to other schools.

The program is still taking donations of instruments at the Ottawa Folklore Centre. The program also needs donations to cover the $3,000 shipping charge.

Snelgrove will ship the instruments in July and plans to be there when they arrive for the next school term in September

"Seeing these kids play the instruments for the first time, I can't imagine what it's gonna be like, but I'm sure it's gonna be pretty amazing," said Snelgrove.

More information about the program can be found at Snelgrove's website.