May 22, 2013

5 Reasons to be at the First Annual Blues & Brews Festival

If you haven't already heard the great news, Peak Events, a local Flagstaff event planning company that currently owns and produces Flagstaff Oktoberfest (now in its fifth successful year) is bringing yet another great festival to Flagstaff this summer.

The Blues and Brews Music Festival is taking place on June 29th at the Continental Driving Range in east Flagstaff.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to check out the festival in its inaugural year:

A portion of the festival's proceeds will be benefiting Ear Candy Charity. These funds will help support the placement of musical instruments into local music programs.

When temperatures start rising in Phoenix, heading north for the Blues and Brews Festival is the perfect excuse to get out of the heat. Blues, brews, and sunshine? Sounds like the best way to spend a Saturday in June.

The festival is definitely family friendly -- kids 12 and under are FREE! There will be food vendors and a designated kids area sponsored by YMCA.

Lineup includes two-time winner of the Blues Music Award Entertainer of the Year, Tommy Castro & the Painkillers and other major Blues favorites (full lineup HERE)!


  • Tickets are only $25 and are on-sale now at Ticketfly. Buy your tickets early and use promo code: EarCandy at checkout to save $5 off the early ticket price.*
  • Day-Of tickets will be sold at the gate for $35, but if ride your bike or take local transportation you can save $10 off the door ticket price. So, save some gas, skip parking, and choose to ride!

There you have it, 5 great reasons to be at the Blues and Brews Festival this summer. Stay cool, everyone!

For more information about the location, lodging, and lineup, visit
Festival tickets are on-sale now, get yours HERE.
*Promo code limited to first 100 users, so get your tickets early and save!

May 1, 2013

Come Together!

April has been a busy month as we placed 49 instruments into music programs across Arizona!

One of our favorite aspects of instruments getting pledged and placed is seeing community come together over music education. At, instrument donors and music teachers have the ability to communicate right on the site. This comment was posted by Mr. Mabry, band director at Pueblo del Sol School, to a generous donor who pledged a flute:

To join the conversation and to view the full request, visit: We Grew The Band, Now Help Us Grow The Inventory. Visit to donate and to get involved.

Apr 4, 2013

Meet the Team: Spring Interns

At Ear Candy Charity we're super thankful for the support we get from the community and this includes students who spend their volunteer time and internships working with us! We've welcomed a couple of new interns this spring and have found that not only are they hard working, but they're super cool music lovers too! 

Read on to learn about some of our new team members:

Meet Evan

Evan is a junior at Arizona State University studying tourism. He is also a die hard music fan and a talented musician (he plays trumpet for ASU's concert band!).

What instruments do you play?

The trumpet is my main instrument but I wanted to get into singing and playing rather than just playing which is why I decided to teach myself guitar and ukulele. I have been playing the trumpet for eleven years, the guitar for two years and  the ukulele for about six months. 

What made you decide to play the trumpet?

In fifth grade, I, along with my classmates, had the opportunity to try out many different instruments. I think I tried out the clarinet first and then the flute but didn't like either of them. Then I came across the trumpet and I liked the size of it and really loved the sound of it.

What is your favorite genre of music to play?

On the trumpet, although I've played in school bands my whole life and have become
accustomed to music meant for band and classical music, my favorite style of music to play is
Jazz. I enjoy playing Jazz music because improvisation is one of my favorite things to do when I play music and that is what Jazz is all about.

What music do you like to listen to and do you have any favorite artists?

I pretty much listen to anything but the majority of the music I listen to and that is on my
iTunes is Reggae, Country, Jazz, and Alternative. My favorite artists that I enjoy listening to the
most would have to be Rebelution and the Expendables which are Reggae bands. I also like, Chris Botti
who is a Jazz trumpet player and Mindi Abair who is a Jazz saxophone player. 

What is the best part about working with Ear Candy?

The best part about working with Ear Candy would have to be working at the McDowell
Mountain Music Festival. You get to see some great bands perform while promoting Ear Candy.
In addition, I enjoy being a part of Ear Candy’s mission which is to promote youth access to
music education. Music is a very important part of my life and I am very passionate about it and I know that if I didn't have the opportunity to learn music in school I would not be the same person today. I've been a part of school music programs ever since I was in the fifth grade and kids around Arizona deserve the same opportunity that I once had. The people within the Ear Candy organization are also great people to be around and work with.

Meet Olga

Olga is a senior at Arizona State University, she'll be completing her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Nonprofit Administration and Human Communication, plus a certificate in Special Event Management, this spring (woo hoo!).

What's your connection to music?

I got involve with music at a fairly young age but I didn't really start to form my music taste until I was 18. I began to learn how to play the guitar when I was 14. My first guitar was a beaten up classical guitar that my dad bought for me at a pawn shop in South Phoenix for $15. In the beginning I took it lightly more of a chore than a passion but a year later I was deeply involved with my guitar you can almost say that I was obsessed!

What were some of the first songs that you learned how to play on the guitar?

Some of the first songs that I learned how to play on the guitar were: “Free Falling” by Tom
Petty, “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Lauryn Hill, and
“Folsom Prison” by Johnny Cash.

Were you ever in a band?

Yes. I was in a garage punk band called The Eggers. We were absolutely terrible but we weren't
in a band to ‘make it’ we did it to have fun and to keep us from ‘vandalizing’ which we called
beautifying the hood. But to each their own.

What artists inspire you?

I don’t go a day without a listen to songs by Lauryn Hill, Gang Starr, Los Crudos, Brand New, Calle
13, Ceremony, and Rage Against The Machine.

What does music mean to you?

To me music is life. I know that to some people it may sound silly for me to say such but
truthfully I cannot see myself not being involved with music whether it be my career or daily
life routines. Mostly importantly music to me is a mode of expression, advocacy, and poetry
whether it be punk rock, hip hop, or folk it reaches people through airwaves; it cross borders,
seas, oceans, trespasses languages.


If you're interested in learning more about how you can work with Ear Candy Charity, visit us at to see how you can get involved or drop us a line at

Mar 22, 2013

One-of-a-Kind Online Auction in Support of Music Education

Here's Your Chance to Get a Couch that Really ROCKS!

March is Music in Schools month! In support of music education Ashley Furniture Homestore has donated three leather couches signed by legendary rock stars – one signed by Def Leppard, one signed by Journey, and one signed by Mötley Crüe –  being auctioned online through eBay Giving Works.

100% of the proceeds generated from the auction will benefit Ear Candy's Charity's mission to provide youth access to music education. The auctions will close on Friday March 29 just after 1 p.m. PDT.

To bid on these one-of-a-kind autographed couches click on the links below:

Motley Crue
Def Leppard
Autographed by the superstar bands when they played the Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion in 2012, these couches are the perfect addition to the ultimate fan’s collection, game room or office.

Ear Candy Charity’s promotional partners for the auction include: 93.3 KDKB93.9 KWSSMIX 96.998 KUPD98.7 The Peak, 100.7 KLSXMEGA 104.3 and 96.7 The Wolf in Flagstaff.

Mar 20, 2013

Let's Keep Music Alive!

This post was submitted by:  Evan Liu, Ear Candy Spring Intern & Trumpet player for ASU's Concert Band

I've been playing music in bands for eleven years so I know the importance and the positive affect that music can have on someone. I was fortunate enough to participate in music programs when I was in elementary and Jr. High which propelled me to continue on in high school and college because I know that music has slowly been dying down in many school districts. Music taught me a lot from building up my confidence to learning how to take care of my instrument. However, I dented my first trumpet pretty badly which I guess is the learning process because now I treat all of my instruments like they were my child. I honestly can’t even imagine what my life would be like without my instruments. Music has had a positive impact on my life and I believe that youth deserve to experience what I experienced when I was a child. Fortunately, many people have been kind enough to donate instruments so that music can keep going in schools around Arizona. 

It’s great to read donor stories as well because these people that are donating really care about keeping music alive in schools. Here’s a story from an individual who donated a Trumpet to Mrs. Zozaya's school band program at Garcia Elementary:
I bought this trumpet years ago because it is my favorite instrument played in jazz music. I always wanted to learn myself, but I got too busy in life to learn...[Read More]. Plus, I always thought it was best to learn as young as possible. I did not even try until I was an adult, by then I already had other instruments to play and other things to keep me plenty busy, so I hope someone will learn to play this instrument for me. It would be an extra bonus if it was someone who ended up developing an interest in jazz music as I did.”
This is just one of the many stories that we get at Ear Candy and we would love to read more! To donate an instrument, visit: 

Jan 21, 2013


Congratulations, Rock the Run team! YOU DID IT!

We couldn't be more proud of our Rock the Run team that trained hard for the P.F. Chang's mini, half, and full marathon. Leading up to the big day, they spent many early mornings and late evenings logging hundreds of miles and raised thousands of dollars in support of music education for Ear Candy Charity.

A big THANK YOU goes out to our many local supporters including Racelab for their support with training and clinics, Rigatony's for sponsoring our pre-race team dinner, Ideas Collide for our Rock the Run logo that our team proudly wore on race day, and the East Valley Spine Center for hanging out in our team tent providing post-race massages for the runners.

We're so very thankful to everyone who supported our team. To the friends, family, and colleagues of each our team members we thank you for supporting their journey to the finish line! It was the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon so with music at every mile, we're sure everyone was inspired as they ran for music education! Congratulations to our team's top two fundraisers, Rebekah Zeeuw and Tony Darling, who combined raised close to $5,000.

Thank you and congrats again to each of our Rock the Run team runners: you're all ROCK STARS! We hope that you are getting some much deserved rest and relaxation this week and we hope to see you again at the start line in 2014!

If you're interested in being a part of Ear Candy's Rock the Run team or for more information contact

Dec 28, 2012

2012 - Celebrating Music Education

It's been a great year thanks to your support!
We wanted celebrate 2012 by sharing some stories from our donors and teachers that kept us inspired all year long.

"This instrument is old but in very good condition.  My mom got is for me, on a single income, so I could learn music and have a great school experience.  I understand how important music is...and how it can be a struggle for parents to provide instruments for their kids.  I played it all through Jr. High and High school band, marching band and pep band.  1979-1984 --Belgrade, Montana.  In that rural school at the time...we all played in band, choir, sports, drama...everything.  I'm so glad I had that opportunity and wish the same for someone else.  Music in all its forms is awesome."

"My Grandfather gave the trumpet to me in 1965 when I was 8. After many hours of practice, annoying sounds, and patience by the rest of the household, we made it to first chair. After all of these years of sitting idle I hope that someone can take this trumpet back to the first chair where it belongs." 

"The Sunnyslope Orchestra is a growing group of young string musicians who are dedicated to playing great music. They are students who range in experience from complete beginners, to advanced students who have played for years and taken private lessons. In spite of this wide range of talent, the students come together, learn together, and create an atmosphere of cooperation. Students begin the year acting as peer tutors, welcoming in new beginning members and teaching them 'the ropes'.  Since SY '08-'09 the group has grown to 31 members. That growth is the best and worst problem for a director because we have to find instruments in a time when capital budgets (the funding used for instrument purchases) is frozen and has been for 4 years. Even when we have instruments, they are hard to keep in good repair due to the cost of strings."

You can still help provide youth music education.

Support Ear Candy Charity and donate now.

Oct 30, 2012

Our Story is Your Story

Stories come to life with Online Instrument Drives

We've had thousands of instruments donated to Ear Candy and placed in school music programs over the last few years. We love bringing joy to students who are eager to make music, but what one of the coolest things is letting  them know that they're part of something really special.  Every instrument has a story and when an instrument moves through our Online Instrument Drive system, we give instrument donors the opportunity to share their experience with music and tell us exactly what their instrument meant to them. Not only are they passing on their instrument, but the history that comes with it.

Andrea, our dedicated Programs Coordinator, came across one particular donor story that she wanted to share with the rest of the Ear Candy team. It is from a lovely individual who donated their Alto Saxophone to Mrs. Ramsey's school band program at ASU Prep Academy:

"My parents purchased this saxophone for me to play in 6th grade in Pendleton Oregon, a small NE town in Oregon where the Pendleton Woolen Mills started.  I played this sax through junior high school and high school.  It has been in a lot of parades and concerts, so it is use to people looking at it.  It has been in storage since the 60s. I decided to give it to a great young musician who will make beautiful music with it ... but to do that the young musician must practice a lot so the sax feels like a part of their body.  Don’t worry about it squeaking or not making a great sound at first … you will get the hang of it after a while and then you can astonish your parents and band members."
We've got so many great stories like this one and we're excited to see all of them come to life as instruments are donated and ready to be placed into the hands of a student. You can browse other requests and read more stories on the Ear Candy Instrument Request page. Then keep the beat going and be part of the conversation, let us know how music has impacted your life.

Oct 25, 2012

Ear Candy Playlist Vol.1: Meet the Team

At Ear Candy, we're an eclectic team brought together by a passion for music education and an enthusiasm for the arts. To keep spirits up in the office there is always a tune or two playing and so to get to know the Ear Candy team we wanted to share with you some of the songs we're loving at the moment.

Founder & Executive Director

The National | England
Dave Matthews Band | Proudest Monkey
The Black Keys | Sinister Kid

Strategic Development Director

Avett Brothers | I & Love & You
Lumineers | Stubborn Love
Matt Pond PA | It's Not So Bad at All

Operations Director

Kings of Leon | Back Down South
Warren Haynes | Man in Motion
Little Feat | Let it Roll

Program Coordinator

Stevie Nicks | I Love Rock 'n' Roll
Doobie Brothers | Drift Away
Kansas  | Carry On Wayward Son

Events Captain

Tiffany | I Think We're Alone Now
New Kids on the Block | Hangin' Tough
Sir Mix-a-Lot | Baby Got Back

Communications Specialist

Of Monsters and Men | Little Talks
The National | Fake Empire
The Shins | New Slang

Development Assistant

Falls | The Ambassador
New Found Glory | Hit or Miss
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights | Gypsy Woman

Oct 9, 2012

Put Down the Briefcase, Pick Up the Bass

Music lovers are everywhere. Many of them take on full-time work as doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, insurance brokers and yes, even as your company's IT professional. Starting this fall, Ear Candy is hosting, Weekend Warriors, a monthly Rock & Roll concert series at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Phoenix. The evening will bring musicians and music enthusiasts together for a night of fun and philanthropy. The featured bands playing each month are principally made up of working professionals in the valley who have happily traded in the corporate gear for musical instruments.
We spoke briefly to Vice President and General Counsel for General Dynamics, and band member of Retro Active, Devon Engel to ask him about his involvement with the Weekend Warriors event.

What's so special about music for you?
Why is it important to participate in events like Weekend Warriors?

In fifth grade, I was given the opportunity to learn to play the bass. Today, as a 46 year old General Counsel of a large company, playing rock and roll on the weekends provides a tremendous amount of stress relief and balance to my life.  

It is important to me that kids in our community who can’t afford their own instruments be given the opportunity I was given to make music a part of their lives.  That is why I volunteer and support Ear Candy and why my band Retro-Active is excited to be a part of Ear Candy’s inaugural Weekend Warrior Concert Series.

The first concert will take place on Saturday, October 13 and will feature Retro-Active (a 80s, 90s and 2K cover band) and Pearl Ridge (Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge tribute band).
There is a $5.00 suggested donation at the door.

Save the date and join us for our first Weekend Warriors Concert:

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 
7:00 pm - 10:30 pm Hard Rock Cafe (3 South 2nd Street #117 Phoenix, AZ 85004)

See our events pages on the Ear Candy website to learn more about the Weekend Warrior Concert Series and check out our event page on Facebook for a list of the bands performing and to RSVP.

SET ONE - 7:30pm Retro-Active 

SET TWO - 9:15 pm Pearl Ridge