Stagelights in the news!

Story in the Curry Coastal Pilot newspaper about Stagelights’ recent purchase of stringed instruments for Azalea Middle School in Brookings.

Azalea Middle School student Evelyn Behunin had never played the cello, but after watching “If I Stay,” a movie about a young cellist, she knew it was the instrument for her.

“I really liked the cello and the sound it makes,” said Behunin, 11, who had never played any instrument before.

Her classmate Avery Sandusky, 11, is playing violin for the first time.

“It’s fun to do and I like the sound,” she said.

Both girls signed up for a beginning string class at the middle school this fall and, with about 18 other students, found a room full of new violins, violas, cellos and a bass — about $25,000 worth of new instruments and music supplies obtained by the Brookings nonprofit Stagelights Musical Arts Community.

“We were able to outfit every single student with an instrument this semester,” said Azalea Middle School music teacher John Webster, who is also a board member for Stagelights.

“Normally, kids would have to share instruments, which can get tricky and is not ideal. This way, the kids get to keep and use their own instruments,” Webster said.

Those statements are music to Stagelights board members, who have been bringing music education and outreach to Brookings public schools and the community since 2009.

The $25,000 grant, awarded by the Oregon Community Foundation in November 2014, is the largest grant that Stagelights has received since its inception.

“We were all thrilled to get that grant; it allowed us to really do something big for our community,” said Stagelights chairman Scott Graves. “We put the money in the bank and said ‘Merry Christmas, John. Now go out and buy some instruments for the kids.’”

Enrollment in music classes at both the middle school and Brookings-Harbor High School have increased dramatically this fall, Webster said.

“Without the grant we wouldn’t have been able to accommodate all the students,” he said. “We even have instruments to spare, plus money left over to buy additional supplies like sheet music, strings and accessories.”

Stagelights used about $18,000 in grant money to purchase 42 instruments, cases, a cello rack and 40 pieces of music, Graves said.

The remaining funds, about $6,000, are being held in reserve for the anticipated growth in the school district’s music programs, he said.

For the 2015-16 school year, the school district expanded its string music program to three classes to accommodate various skill levels of students.

“Last year we had two classes; two years ago we had only one,” Webster said.

His ultimate goal, and that of Stagelights, is to help bring back music to Kalmiopsis Elementary School, which hasn’t had a music program for several years because of budget cuts.

“We really need to start children playing music as early as possible, even kindergarten,” Webster said. “Studies show that learning music at a young age can make a huge difference in how well kids do in all aspects of their education.”

Stagelights’ donation is only the latest of several instruments donated to the middle school by groups and individuals in the community.

“The Friends of Music donated $2,000 or $3,000 in 2011 that we used to purchase 10 new instruments.” Webster said. “We also received donation of instruments from individuals, including Charles Harmon, a local luthier who donated seven instruments. Other individuals have donated one or two instruments over the years.”

To donate instruments to the schools, call John Webster at Azalea Middle School at 541-469-7427. Donations to Stagelights can be made by calling 541-373-3727. More information is also available at



First Annual Wild Rivers Music Festival a hit with fans!

The dust has settled after the Aug. 15-16 music festival at Brookings Azalea Park and we are proud to announce that we did well enough to start planning for the second annual festival tentatively scheduled for July, 2016! We’d like to thank the sponsors, volunteers, vendors and music fans who helped launch our festival this year. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please check this website frequently for updates on next year’s festival, including the exact dates and artists. You can also visit the official festival website at or follow us on Facebook.

Meanwhile, here is a highlight video of this year’s festival.



Click HERE for festival information.



Fred Meyer and Stagelights!

You can help Stagelights earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on which non-profit their customers tell them to give.

Here’s how the program works:

Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Stagelights Musical Arts Community at

You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 83269.

Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Stagelights earn a donation!

You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points and rebates, just as you do today.

Sign up today!


  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Stagelights Musical Arts Community whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at


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