Band and music education are an important part of our area’s middle and high school curriculum.

But unfortunately, with reduced state budgets and cuts in county music program spending, funds for new band instrument purchases in most local schools are a challenge. This has prompted more pressure on parents to foot the bill in purchasing or renting a musical instrument for their child to participate in band.

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival, in supporting music in our local schools, is again partnering with LINKS of Northwest Florida in providing a free Four Day Pass (a $200 value) for each instrument donated to the program.

LINKS (Lonely Instruments for Needy Kids) of Northwest Florida is a not-for-profit 501C3 organization that collects used band instruments, pays for repairs, and then provides access to these instruments to needy kids in Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa counties.

• LINKS connects needy students to good used instruments

• LINKS provides the opportunity for students to participate in local programs in local middle and high school

• LINKS pays for repairs, and the instrument stays in Northwest Florida

• LINKS facilitates with local school administrators to determine needs and to provide options for families who need it

• LINKS is a tax-deductible donation

Donated instruments should be dropped off at Playground Music Center in Fort Walton Beach at Uptown Station through April 17.

Acceptable types of musical instruments for the LINKS donation include flute, piccolo, clarinet, oboe, English horn, bassoon, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, cornet, trumpet, flugelhorn, double French horn, trombone, baritone, euphonium, tuba, and sousaphone.

Acceptable brands of musical instruments include Artley, Armstrong, Azumi, Bach, Benge, Bundy, Besson, Buffet, Buescher, Blessing, Cannonball, Carnegie, Conn, Courtois, Eastman, Emerson, Edwards, Fox, Gemeinhardt, Getzen, Holton, Haynes, Jupiter, Kanstul, King, Keilworth, Leblanc, Linton, Martin, Meinl Weston, Muramatsu, Noblet, Normandy, Powell, Pearl, Schreiber, Selmer, Sankyo, Schilke, Vito, Wilson, Yamaha and Yanagisawa.

Playground Music Center will have the right to accept or reject any instrument that does not meet LINKS instrument guidelines. For each acceptable instrument to the LINKS program, Seabreeze Jazz Festival will donate a complimentary Four Day Pass ($200 value) good for jazz performances April 18th-21st at Pier Park in Panama City Beach.

"Encouraging music in the schools is such an essential part of grooming new musicians, and Seabreeze Radio and the Seabreeze Jazz Festival is happy to be part of helping to put music instruments in the hands of young people with the passion to learn," said Mark Carter of the Seabreeze Jazz Festival. "Our involvement with LINKS in 2012 generated dozens of instrument donations, and we are proud to offer a free Four Day Pass again as an added incentive".

For information on LINKS instrument donations, contact Playground Music Center at 850-243-2514 or go online to