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Nonprofit auctioning ‘Hanna Montana’ signed guitar

Christian Manie
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” You might not be a fan of Miley Cyrus, but chances are you know a teen who has an affinity for the star of the Disney Channel’s wildly popular “Hanna Montana.”

An autographed Baby Taylor guitar from the teen megastar is being offered via silent auction until Monday, July 21, at Great Divide Music in Aspen, with proceeds benefiting the National Jam Foundation, a local nonprofit that benefits school music programs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

The guitar, a BT1 three-quarter size dreadnought, has a framed certificate of authenticity from Cyrus’ agency, the Morey Management Group, indicating that she signed the instrument for the National Jam Foundation to help the organization toward its mission. Also included are the hard-shell case and a padded gig bag.

The auction marks the latest fundraising effort for the National Jam Foundation, perhaps best known for staging the annual Battle of the Bands, which is held in Basalt.

The nonprofit has hosted the event annually for the past 10 years and it has become a popular showcase for the musically talented youth of the valley. The extent to which this is true, says co-founder Dan Sadowsky, only truly becomes apparent when one witnesses the energy, passion and dedication these young musicians invest in their talents and skills.

“I remember the band that won most recently,” said Sadowsky. “The bassist got up and said how he looks forward to this event all year long. And that’s what it’s all about. The opportunity for these kids to get up and play their own music.”

Battle of the Bands co-founder Chris “Biff” Phillips said, “We live in a valley where, in education, sports seems to win out every time, which is a great thing in its way. We’re just trying to help the other kids out.”

Both musical luminaries in their own right, the idea for the Battle of the Bands came in 1998, when Phillips walked in Sadowsky’s office and declared that something needed to be done about the state of musical education in the valley.

Phillips had been approached by the school district to help coach kids in choir and horn for an upcoming event, and soon realized how little funding there was for music. Starting from that conversation, the Battle of the Bands progressed, and this year saw more than 30 bands from 13 schools battle it out on two stages in Basalt on May 17.

Each band represents a school, and it is to these schools that the foundation dispenses grants. On some occasions, the bands might have little to do with the chosen schools’ music department, noted Phillips, “but they are there, playing for themselves, and helping their school music program, if not for themselves, then for other students.”

“We would very much like to ignite the will of the community to get behind music in our schools ” to get it happening. That’s one of the aims of the Battle of the Bands,” said Sadowsky, adding that the event serves a manifold purpose. “It’s a competition for sure, but it’s also educational for the kids. They get not only to play and be heard, but hear what others are doing. That exchange is one of the greatest benefits.”

Phillips estimates the foundation has granted $30,000 to the music departments of local schools since it’s inception. This is money above and beyond the cost of producing the Battle of the Bands, and mostly comes from private donations and fundraising.

The guitar will be on display at Great Divide Music in Aspen, located at 111 S. Monarch St, until Monday, July 21, and silent-auction forms are available in store for those interested in bidding on the guitar. Sadowsky said that if they fail to reach their reserve price locally, the guitar will go to auction on eBay after July 21.

For more information contact Jam Foundation volunteer David Sturt at (970) 927-2433.


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