Music Rising to help symphony rebuild Instrument Petting Zoo

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 5:14pm
Staff reports

The Nashville Symphony’s collection of 42 instruments often referred to as the Instrument Petting Zoo was among the casualties of historic May flooding.

The exhibit, which traveled to local schools, libraries community events in Davidson and neighboring counties, was used to introduce children to a range of classical, bluegrass and band instruments.

Back in July, Billy Ray Hearn, a longtime Nashville Symphony supporter, donated the first instrument to begin rebuilding the petting zoo’s collection.

Music Rising, a program administered by the Gibson Foundation and originally dedicated to rebuilding the Gulf Coast’s music programs following Hurricane Katrina, has followed his lead with a $25,000 donation to the Nashville Symphony to help rebuild its Instrument Petting Zoo.

Music Rising program recently expanded its efforts to help the Nashville music community by donating $250,000 to help musicians replace instruments lost in the flood. Partnering with The Recording Academy’s MusiCares organization, Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation have already assisted over 100 musicians in the Nashville area.

Hearn, the founder and chairman of EMI Christian Music Group and a member of the Nashville Symphony’s Board of Directors, donated a 1920 violin made in the former Czechoslovakia. Since his seed donation several other donors have helped in the rebuilding of the Instrument Petting Zoo.

The Nashville Symphony’s total cost of all losses, including disaster response, cleanup, business interruption and restoration of the building, is estimated at $42 million.

For more information about the Nashville Symphony’s music education programs, please visit