The Real Life Music Man
Bill Harvey gives students more than instruments; he gives them their first steps on an artistic journey
The Synchrony Pillars Project set out to celebrate 10 individuals who define what it means to be from a particular place, help elevate their local economies, and foster community pride. We salute Bill Harvey's contributions to the arts, to education, and to the Greater Cincinnati region.
BILL HARVEY | "THE ORCHESTRATOR"
BUDDY ROGER'S MUSIC | CINCINNATI, OH
Hearing a kid play an instrument for the first time. Listening to a marching band rouse a halftime crowd. Seeing a child listen intently during a local orchestra's free concert.
It's all music to Bill Harvey's ears.
Harvey has been in the music business ever since his days at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a trumpeter in the school's marching band. Today, he is the owner of Buddy Roger's Music, a Cincinnati institution for more than 60 years. The store specializes in supplying and repairing instruments for school bands and currently works with more than 200 schools in the area. But Harvey's commitment to music goes far beyond just selling instruments and accessories to schools.
It pained Harvey to see students who wanted to get involved but couldn't afford an instrument. Knowing that once-used instruments often languished in the backs of closets, untouched for years, Harvey began a program called Lonely Instruments for Needy Kids (LINKs) encouraging people to donate their old instruments to children who otherwise couldn't afford them.
"This program has made it possible for under-resourced kids to pursue an activity that they might not have been able to discover," he says proudly. "There are students now in college for music education who started their musical journey on a LINKs instrument."