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Time to ‘Assemble the Ensemble’

Assemble the Ensemble logo

Madison, WI --The leadership of Sherman, Black Hawk and O’Keeffe Middle Schools, Heid Music and Food Fight Restaurant Group have come together to launch a pilot program designed to put instruments into the hands of ALL aspiring musicians. This used instrument drive,  dubbed “Assemble the Ensemble,”  runs April 27 - May 11 with three Food Fight restaurants serving as the drop off locations.

These Middle Schools do not have enough instruments for all music students. In many cases, students share an instrument during band practice, alternating the use of the instrument between students from song to song.

The goal of this program is to collect as many used instruments from the community as possible. Wind, string and reed instruments are most in need. Any donation is greatly appreciated however, large instruments, such as pianos and organs, are not well suited for this community donation event. Donations are tax deductible.

Three Food Fight Restaurants - Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, Tex Tubbs, and Avenue Bar will serve as donation drop off locations. Donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a coupon for 10% off, redeemable at that location.

“This is an opportunity to demonstrate a true collaborative partnership between local business/Food Fight, the community and our public schools. I appreciate the fact that all of my students could have access to functioning instruments as they are being introduced to the beauty of the Fine Arts,” explained Sherman Middle School Principal Mike Hernandez.

The instruments donated will be evaluated by Todd and DeDe Heid of Heid Music. Heid Music will determine the condition of the donated instruments and manage repairs. Heid Music has agreed to donate labor hours, as well as provide replacement parts at their cost. The instruments collected will be refurbished by their team of expert technicians, with over 300 years of combined experience, and put into place for the 2014-2015 school year.

"When this company was founded more than 65 years ago,  bringing music to students was our primary goal. Today, we're just as committed to making music part of students' daily lives and this event gives us the opportunity to meet that goal,” shared Todd Heid.

Sherman Middle School has received monetary support from a few grants and a donation from the Madison Community Foundation. Theses funds will go toward the repair of instruments.

The long term goal of this pilot project is to develop it into a student-run organization by 2016.  As the program evolves, the students will take over the program and learn valuable business skills: fund raising, accounting, financial goals, budgets, marketing, and community service. The students in charge of the program will receive guidance from teachers and administrators within the school district.

Food Fight Managing Partner Greg Frank explained why they have partnered on this project, “Our restaurants always appreciate the chance to give back to the community. This partnership with Assemble the Ensemble makes great sense for us. We feed people food the same way music feeds the soul… a restaurant with no music is pretty boring. And so we’re happy to encourage and support the next generation of musicians!”

Contact Information

For information about Assemble the Ensemble, press information and how to donate: Mike Hernandez, Sherman Middle School Principal at (608) 204-2100 or

For information about where to drop off instruments and Food Fight’s commitment to the communityplease contact: Joey Connaughty, Managing Partner – Food Fight Restaurant Group at C: (608) 566-5506 or