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Kentucky musician works to collect instrument donations for tornado victims

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Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 19:50:37-04

BOURBON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Central Kentucky musician with a worldwide following is looking to bring the power of music to Western Kentucky communities impacted by tornadoes late last year.

Musician Michael Johnathon says a front porch is a place to sit and relax and the place where art is created. After tornadoes in December 2021 destroyed so many Kentucky communities, Johnathon wanted to help.

"Hundreds and hundreds of front porch musicians lost their ability to express,” says Johnathon.

He began collecting donated instruments. Hundreds of donations came in from around the country and the world. So many people in the community signed up for the free instruments, and over the last few days, Johnathon and volunteers made one final push to collect even more.

Michael believes music matters. Johnathon expressed, "Every culture in human history left its mark not with its laws, not with its currency, not with its ideas, it was with its art."

A 26-foot truck was nearly filled to the top with all sorts of instruments. They'll be making three stops for people looking to play.

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Donations were collected at “Currier's Music World” in Richmond. This store's manager and co-owner, Cathy Currier, says a group came together to repair nearly 500 instruments to go out. She says music is such a powerful outlet, especially when times are tough.

"These are escapes, and music is one of the best escapes. You know to play music and be very creative and write songs -- it’s a great escape,” says Currier.

More than a hundred years ago, Johnathon says our world looked a lot like it does now: an epidemic, global conflict, and an unstable economy. He says at that time a song about blue skies was a message of hope. A hope he'd like these instruments to bring the people that get them.

"I want the music and strings to show that people love them, people care about them, that they are still thought of, they are important enough for people to go through a national effort of something very unusual that affects them emotionally and musically,” shares Johnathon.

Michael will head out to deliver the hundreds of instruments collected this Friday. The free instruments will be distributed in Mayfield, Dawson Springs, and Owensboro.