Keeping Music Alive; Nat King Cole Generation Hope donates instruments to OHS

OKEECHOBEE — Keeping Music Alive is more than a mission for Nat King Cole Generation Hope, it’s a PASSION!

Twin daughters of music legend Nat King Cole, Timolin and Casey Cole of Boca Raton, launched Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc. to honor the legacy, music and life of their father Nat King Cole in 2008 after learning of budget cuts in public schools directly affecting the arts. Since that time, donations in excess of $750,000 have benefited thousands of children with “the greatest need and fewest resources” in South Florida and New York.

Instruments donated by Nat King Cole Generation Hope valued at over $4,000.

Instruments donated by Nat King Cole Generation Hope valued at over $4,000.

Recently they visited Okeechobee High School bringing with them three trumpets, one clarinet, one french horn and a snare drum to start what they hope will be a long-term relationship with the school’s music program. One of Nat King Cole Generation Hope’s most successful programs is securing instruments, new and old, and finding homes for them in schools in need.

With generous support from Stephen and JoAnna Myers, developers and founders of Pine Creek Sporting Club, they were able to bring the instruments, valued at over $4,000, to the school’s music program.

Met by Principal Dylan Tedders and Band Director Clint LaFlam, the Cole twins and representatives from Pine Creek Sporting Club were impressed with the comprehensive music education program and the students who performed for the visit. Passion for music was evident in the room, by the pride in his students shown by Director LaFlam to the students who lit up when performing.

Left to right are Brianna Eplin, Jenny Slayton and Pat Worsham of Pine Creek Sporting Club. Casey and Timolin Cole of Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Principal Dylan Tedders and Band Director Clinton LaFlam.

Left to right are Brianna Eplin, Jenny Slayton and Pat Worsham of Pine Creek Sporting Club. Casey and Timolin Cole of Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Principal Dylan Tedders and Band Director Clinton LaFlam.

While trophies line the walls showcasing achievements made by this school’s program, the real reward that these students receive will be varied and long lasting. Nat King Cole Generation Hope knows music is a critical learning tool that keeps students engaged in school, helps develop well-rounded individuals and encourages skills that are vital for success in the 21st century. Research has proven that access to a quality music education engages students in the classroom and increases graduation rates; improves early cognitive development, math and reading skills; enhances learning in other core subjects; develops critical thinking and leadership skills; and fosters self-esteem and the ability to work cooperatively in teams.

Okeechobee High School Advance Band and representatives from Nat King Cole Generation Hope.

Okeechobee High School Advance Band and representatives from Nat King Cole Generation Hope.

“Our family history is one of musical excellence and charitable giving,” said Casey Cole. “Our father was a trailblazer in the music industry and will live forever through his style, grace and unforgettable music. Our mother Maria sang with Duke Ellington and was known for supporting multiple causes throughout her life. By sharing our family’s history and giving students the opportunity to enhance their musical talents and abilities; our family’s legacy lives on.”

For information, please contact Executive Director Shanna St. John at sstjohn@natkingcolegenhope.org or 561-213-8209.

The mission of Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to provide music education to children with the greatest need and fewest resources by funding programs that provide for instruction, mentoring and resources.

Okeechobee High School Advance Band.

Okeechobee High School Advance Band.

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