• Decatur Public Schools Foundation

    Wally Barnett Musical Instrument Library

    Providing District #61 students with opportunities in instrumental studies


    We operate under the belief that all students deserve the opportunity to receive quality musical instruction regardless of background or socioeconomic status. Not only does learning an instrument enrich the lives of our children, but research shows that other academic benefits exist as well. For example, according to the Peterson Family Foundation, learning an instrument teaches a child how to create, store, and retrieve memories more effectively.  


    How does the Instrument Library work?

    The Decatur Public Schools Foundation partners with the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur (SOGD) to maintain the Instrument Library. Thanks to donations from Sigma Alpha Iota and donors like you, we currently have over 470 band and orchestra instruments in our library ready to be loaned out to qualifying music students within District #61.

    SOGD members coordinate with district teachers and administration to loan out the instruments from the library. SOGD members also maintain the instruments and keep a running inventory of the library. 

    How do I get an instrument?

    Students whose families are unable to buy or rent an instrument should contact their school’s band or orchestra teacher to notify them. If approved by the teacher, the student and parent will fill out a contract and pay a one-time $30 instrument fee for the year. If a family has difficulty paying the $30 fee, the Symphony Guild will work to provide financial assistance so that no child misses out on the opportunity to participate. Each building’s music instructors can provide more information. 

     Instruments are loaned out for the duration of the academic year, and summer use is approved on a per-case basis.

    Donate an Instrument

     Do you have a gently used instrument to donate to the library? Your tax-deductible gift can be dropped off to the:

    Decatur Public Schools Foundation

    601 N. Church St. 

    Decatur, IL 62522

    Financial Support for the Instrument Library

    Click here to donate online to the Instrument Repair Fund, or mail checks to our mail room via:

    Decatur Public Schools Foundation

    101 W. Cerro Gordo St.

    Decatur, IL  62523

     (Please include “Instrument Library” in your memo line.)


    Beginning Musician Starter Kits

    The Foundation also creates Beginning Musician Starter Kits for beginning students who rent an instrument through the Instrument Library. These kits include all of the supplies an instrumental student will need in their first year of instruction and beyond. 

    Kits include:

    • Music Stand
    • Beginning Method Book
    • Drawstring Bag
    • Pencil
    • Other necessary instrumental supplies (cleaning swabs, reeds, cork grease, valve oil, and resin) 

    With a gift of $40, you can sponsor a beginning musician today and help set them up for success as they begin their musical journey. Click here to sponsor a beginning instrumental student with your tax-deductible gift. Please make a note for “Beginning Musician Starter Kit” in the box provided by the online portal. You may sponsor as many students as you like!