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Charity collects donated instruments and provides free live music
By Danielle Juncal
Arturo Echarte has struck a chord with the Dana Point community.
Through the charity Acoustic for a Change, Echarte and his wife Susan Echarte provide free, live music for special events and collect donated instruments for local organizations and children. Using an online form, Echarte connects organizations and youth in need to local instrument donors.
The results can be quite serendipitous.
Echarte recently received an email from a caseworker at Laura’s House, a domestic violence shelter, with an inquiry about an instrument. A young girl at the shelter had fled from an abusive household with her mother but had to leave her guitar behind. The caseworker reached out to Acoustic for a Change to give the girl a chance to reconnect with music.
“The girl really wanted a guitar, and she has mentioned that her favorite color was blue,” Echarte said. “It was great because I had received a blue guitar days before. It was incredible.”
A lifelong music lover and guitarist, Echarte was inspired to start a nonprofit about seven years ago because he believed there was a higher purpose for his musical endeavors. While living in Florida, he began playing acoustic guitar at charity events and networking to recruit musicians equipped to play many different genres. Acoustic for a Change now has a coast-to-coast network consisting of hundreds of musicians who can be contacted for events.
Echarte brought the idea for Acoustic for a Change with him when he moved to Dana Point, creating a nonprofit movement that spans East to West. Since he introduced Acoustic for a Change to Orange County, he has connected with organizations like Laura’s House, Mariachi for All, area Boys & Girls Clubs and Saddleback Church.
Receiving everything from pianos to clarinets, Echarte will accept any type of instrument and find it a good home. Larger instruments can be picked up by the organization in need, but often times Echarte will use his own home as a drop site for donations.
Even more obscure instruments like xylophones and lutes have been donated, and Acoustic for a Change can place them with organizations, like Mariachi for All, which educates area youth on the cultural traditions of mariachi music.
“I just want someone to actually use these instruments,” Echarte said. “The life of an instrument lasts longer at an organization because it can be passed on between many different people.”
Echarte truly believes that the recipients of donated instruments will benefit from having music in their lives.
“Students and kids need to have a well roundedness and the arts bring a deeper dimension to their experience in life,” he said.