Charity reigniting students' passion for music

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Just listening to them practice, you'd never guess some students in Coronado High School's orchestra don't have their own instruments.

When Sammy Brauer arrived several years ago, times were tough.

"The first year here, we literally had just enough instruments to trade around so students would be rehearsing and then hand over their instruments to another student," said Brauer.

A dilemma students like 16-year-old Desiree Flores didn't like, especially since she fell in love with the violin when she was in 4th grade.

"The sound and comfort it brings to me. I can just go to it whenever I'm feeling down or need a moment to myself, I go to the violin," Flores explained.

Flores has been playing on a violin her grandfather gave her.

"As you can see the shoulder rest is missing and then my bridge is not very good," she said.

Nate Anderson founded Ear Candy. A non-profit providing refurbished instruments to students across the country.

"Kids flip out over music. They want this and we know how much more they're going to get out of it if they have that access," said Anderson. "Teachers go online and they request instruments, instrument donors can then go view those requests and pledge an instrument, and then financial donors can also contribute to ultimately repair and place those instruments and get them into the hands of kids who need them."

Erica Pederson understands the connection Flores has with the violin. She too played for years.

"I probably pick it up once or twice a month now," Pederson admitted.

Collecting dust in her closet, Pederson recently gave her violin to Ear Candy.

"I can't even imagine playing on an instrument like the one she was playing on before, it must have been so difficult for her," said Pederson.

"It's amazing that somebody could do that, what they love and give it away. They must really love it, to give it away," stated a grateful Flores.

Flores now has a new found appreciation for music, one that will likely resonate for years to come.

"Yeah, I think I could adjust," she said with a laugh.

For more information about Ear Candy,  call (480) 965-3362 or visit,, or