Weatherford Democrat

January 19, 2008

Donated guitars provide vital release to US troops in Iraq

Making Music profiles a Denver-based program that sends guitars to soldiers overseas

SYRACUSE, NY — For US soldiers stationed in Iraq, life can be boring. There is a lot of downtime spent in the barracks, but it isn’t time spent carefree. Instead, that downtime is tinged with fear, anxiety, and homesickness.

Edith LeMaster, the mother of one of these soldiers, wanted to do something to change that. In conjunction with the Denver Musicians’ Association, LeMaster began the program Music for Marines, which has sent dozens of guitars to grateful soldiers since its inception in 2006. The guitars allow soldiers who already know how to play to focus their energy on teaching music to others. In the January/February issue of Making Music, LeMaster and her son, Corporal Joe Kaniatobe, who was the inspiration for the program and the first guitar recipient, talk about Music for Marines and the impact it has had.

Said Making Music’s editor-in-chief Antoinette Follett, “What Edith LeMaster and the Denver Musicians’ Association have begun is nothing short of heroic. The men and women stationed in Iraq are facing uncertainty every day, and experiencing things that those of us at home cannot imagine. It’s wonderful that these guitars can provide them, in some small way, with an outlet for expressing themselves.”

The issue will be on newsstands in early January, and the article will be available online at Full-text reprints of the article are available upon request.