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This tuba shall pass: Fundraiser to replace stolen instruments

Photo by TAZphotos via Flickr Creative Commons

Local restaurant owner and Whittier High alum, Joe Garcia, announced a one-day fundraiser to help replace the four band tubas and mouthpieces that marched out of Whittier High School in late June.

Thieves broke into the music room leaving behind a handwritten note and $20,000 in replacement costs. Without a budget to replace the instruments, the school was looking at their remaining tubas -- described as decades-old and in various states of disrepair -- as the only option unless they received help from private donations.

Garcia's event takes place Monday July 16 at Famous Joe’s Legendary Mexican Food, 15334 Whittier Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Half of all proceeds, including gift card sales, will be donated to the Whittier High School Band Program.

KPCC asked the restaurant owner how the response had been in the first hour. "We're getting a flow in and seeing the effects of getting the word out, and the effects of social media," Garcia said.

Anxious to help the community, Garcia set up the fundraiser through his 3-year-old business. "I know there are many many issues, but I hope we can resolve this one quickly," he explained. Based on the first hour response, Garcia said the event could bring in double or triple the customers of an average Monday.

Several community members and clubs have already given money to help the school purchase new instruments -- about $2,000 has so far been donated, said Principal Lori Eshilian in a release.


KPCC looks at how similar crimes in the area may be tied to an increase in banda music popularity.