A Columbia family that endured the death of a son early this year is hoping to extend his musical legacy with a drive to collect instruments for those in need.
The Pick Me Up Foundation, an organization created in memory of Aaron Davis Reed, an aspiring musician who died unexpectedly in January at age 21, is hosting a musical instrument drive Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Kings Contrivance Village Center.
Donated instruments will be repaired and cleaned, and then given to children whose families otherwise could not afford them.
Reed was a 2010 Hammond High School graduate. After his death, his family — parents Brian and Esther Reed and his sister, Julia — worked with others to form the Pick Me Up Foundation, an organization named for an alternative rock song that Aaron Reed had been working on with a group in Buffalo.
The foundation's website, thepickmeupfoundation.com, notes that the young artist, who was a founding member of Columbia bands The Runways and New World Commotion, "lived and breathed music."
His father said Aaron played guitar, piano and drums, and spread his love for music to others.
"Aaron was a talented musician, but more amazing was how he interacted with others who wanted to play music, especially kids who were 'outside looking in' " Brian Reed wrote in an email.
"At his memorial, there were numerous testimonies from his high school peers on how caring he was and willing to lend instruments," his father said.
"We believe that by providing instruments to kids who wouldn't be able to get them, we are honoring Aaron's spirit."
Brian Reed said interest in the foundation and the instrument drive has been "unbelievable," with family and friends helping to set up the website, run the foundation and otherwise lend support. He said Hammond High School Principal Marcy Leonard has helped spread the word to all Howard County high schools, and his son's friends have aided the project as well.
The goal for the instrument drive is to collect 100 musical instruments; all types will be accepted except pianos.
The Pick Me Up Foundation's musical instrument drive will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at Kings Contrivance Village Center, 8600 Guilford Road, Columbia. Those with instruments to donate but who can't make it to the site may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-530-3831 to arrange a pickup. The group will also accept instruments after the event on an ongoing basis.