‘Music saved my life’ – Beacon Hall receives grant for non-profit purposes – Reuters
SALISBURY — Beacon Hall has received more than $30,000 in funding for a place where children can learn to play musical instruments.
Jody Blackwell, founder and chair of the board of Beacon Hall, received two grants in May for building repairs essential to the opening of the nonprofit music and literacy organization at 121 Ridge Ave.
After working as a welder for nearly 30 years, Blackwell wanted to cultivate the skills of strong willed children through music.
“Music saved my life,” he said. “I’ve been playing guitar for 61 years. Now, I never said I was good at it, but it’s been my getaway and my fun. If you give a young child an instrument, it’s amazing what they could do with that skill.
The Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation donated $5,000 to help with the first phase of the reconstruction. The funds will cover window repairs, including two semicircular windows on both sides of the church wall. In 2018, First Union Bank in Salisbury donated the rest of the windows which now hang on the building’s original weights.
The Margaret C. Woodson Foundation grant provided $26,000 for phase two of the project, funds that will be used for two 24-by-28-foot bridges behind the church with a handicap-accessible ramp. The wood for this phase was donated by Cone Mills. The wood is original from the factory and strong enough to do the job. In addition to a terrace, two outdoor bathrooms will be built on the side of the site with bricks donated by Duke Power’s Buck Steam Station.
The original tin roof of the house built around 1905 sits under the new roof put in place by an anonymous donor as the organization wanted to preserve as much of the building as possible.
Jody and his wife, Maggie, purchased the property in May 2017 before turning it over to Beacon Hall in 2020. In addition to Destiny Church’s Old Fashion Gospel Tabernacle, he also purchased the former Salisbury Greenhouses. What used to be the facility’s freezer now serves as storage for instruments including cellos, violins, violas and guitars for future classes.
Now five years in the works, Jody hopes the organization will kick off in the fall of 2023. The Salisbury Symphony Youth Orchestra has partnered with the founder to begin hosting its practices and classes at the site once the renovation is complete. completed.
“Even though we want to get this up and running, we didn’t want to rush it,” Jody said. “It’s not about us adults, it’s about the kids. I want it to be a place where they can come and know they are loved.
The facility won’t just be for music. Jody sees the church backyard as endless learning opportunities for children in Salisbury. Some of his ideas include literacy and reading, gardening with Happy Roots, and a blacksmith shop.
“I can just see showing kids how to put metal together with borax or having them hit hot iron to create something,” Jody said with a smile. “These are valuable skills to learn.”
Jody said he couldn’t do this project without Beacon Hall board members and other community members who helped with construction and donations. One notable instrument donated to the organization includes a 120-year-old Steinway grand piano that has been refurbished for the fingertips of capable little hands.
An additional $102,000 in electrical repairs will be required to move forward with phase three.