Graham Sharp, right, plays banjo while a student plays xylophone.

Banjo twangs and guitar trills echoed through the Emma Elementary School gym on Wednesday.
Graham Sharp and Barrett Smith of the Steep Canyon Rangers hosted a music workshop for the kids before unveiling a set of xylophones and metallophones. Additional instruments, including drums, are on the way as part of a donation through Can’d Aid, a nonprofit affiliated with Oskar Blues Brewery.
“Of all the things we do, all the gigs we play, coming back and doing this is one of the most meaningful things,” Mr. Sharp said. “And you get a lot more smiles than anywhere else.”
The Grammy Award winning band members have been Can’d Aid TUNES Ambassadors for about 10 years. They frequently donate instruments to schools at stops along national tours. Both band members said school music programs had a big impact on their lives.
“When I was in elementary school, I remember the high school jazz band coming in,” Mr. Sharp said. “I thought it was the coolest thing, and so I followed that path. It might not be a career for everybody, but if there’s one kid who gets a fire lit, that’s wonderful.”
Emma music teacher Preston Prince thanked the band for their donation and said their presence helped contextualize music for his students.
“Seeing these instruments work, and learning how they work from trained professionals, that real-life experience is super valuable,” he said. “It also shows the kids what can happen with a lot of practice.”

View photos on Facebook and Instagram.