Chely Wright, 75 Flutes and a Rack Stereo

CMA Horizon Award nominee Chely Wright is taking time out of her schedule next week to support the music department of a Nashville public school. Through her Reading, Writing & Rhythm Foundation, Wright will give Whitsitt Elementary School 75 flutes, 10 student-sized guitars and a rack stereo system. The singer will deliver the much-needed equipment Tuesday (Oct. 3). Wright’s organization raises money for instruments and equipment for public schools. She says she was inspired by her own experiences as a student. She wanted to be part of the school band in Wellsville, Kan., but was afraid to ask her working-class parents for the money to buy an instrument. “I’d been taking piano lessons since I was 4 years old, and that was money my parents had to scrape up every week,” Wright told “So I never asked to be in the band.” The junior high band director told Wright’s parents how talented their daughter was musically, and they agreed to buy her a trumpet. “They found me about a 40-year-old horn that was soldered together, half-brass and half-copper, that smelled like cow manure,” Wright said. “They got it at an estate sale, and it had been in a barn. Every time I’d breathe in I was nauseated.” Two months later, she made first chair in the band and her parents bought her a brand-new horn. “I vowed then that if I ever had the opportunity to get a kid involved in band or music that I would do that,” Wright said. “If they have the ability for music, I certainly want to enable them.” So far, the foundation has donated an upright Yamaha piano to Big Sandy High School in Big Sandy, Mont., and 12 guitars, a public address system and sheet music to Wright’s alma mater, Wellsville High School.