KHS America Donates Instruments to Schools Recovering from Tennessee Flood Disaster

Elizabeth Dale

NAMM Member KHS America has donated $100,000 worth of musical instruments to Waverly Junior High and High School to revive their school music programs after a devastating flood swept through their Tennessee community.

In August 2021, heavy rains culminated in a flash flood across western Tennessee. In 12 hours, five counties received up to a quarter of the normal annual precipitation, totaling ten to 15 inches. Much of the torrential rainfall flowed along the Trace Creek, causing swells to fall on the city of Waverly and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and flooding Waverly Junior High and High School. With the surge of floodwaters sweeping through the schools, officials have commented that the only saving grace of the disaster was that it had not occurred on a school day, as rescue efforts would have been nearly impossible.

In November, KHS America, alongside 22-time GRAMMY® Award winner Vince Gill, singer/songwriter Alex Hall, and the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation, visited Waverly Central High School to present students with new instruments. The project arose from the long-standing collaborative efforts of KHS America and the CMA Foundation. The duo has worked on endeavors that supply quality musical instruments to support music education including, supporting charitable organizations like Little Kids Rock, United Sound, Save The Music, and the W.O. Smith School. When Gill heard of the efforts from the CMA Foundation, he felt it was important not only to get involved with the project but to personally meet and talk with students about the importance of music and the difference it makes in students’ lives.

“One of the core values of KHS America is that as a company, ‘We believe that music is an essential part of life for every individual and that it provides a contribution to society as a whole.’ This donation mirrors our core value, and it is the reason we do what we do”, says Rick DeJonge, KHS America Artist and Educator Relations Manager. The relief efforts in Waverly are just one of the long list of donations KHS America and its partners have made. Past charitable projects include $15,000 worth of woodwinds to replace instruments that were destroyed by a truck, a $60,000 donation with Harry Connick Jr. to Central High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after floods destroyed their instruments; $55,000 worth of instruments provided alongside the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Foundation to schools in the Bahamas who were impacted by a hurricane; and a $40,000 endowment of instruments to Paradise, California after a fire ravished the community.

KHS America hopes to inspire other NAMM Members to get involved with communities impacted by disasters. DeJonge offers this advice, “We encourage others wishing to provide support to partner with a local retailer. Their existing relationships will make it easier to work closely with the school and affiliated parent organizations to create a well-rounded effort for supporting music education in the community. At KHS America, this is a fundamental aspect of our ‘Academic Alliance’ program and is critical to facilitating such endeavors.”

For more information from KHS America, please visit them at

Images Courtesy of Stephanie McKendrick