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Middle School receives a generous musical donation
students holding electric guitarsShaler Area is one of several local school districts to benefit from the generosity of Dustin Hook, a local real estate agent and bassist for Dan + Shay, a country music group.

Moved by the desire to support music education, Mr. Hook chose to donate 30 guitars to various schools in the Pittsburgh area for his 30th birthday earlier this year. Shaler Area Middle School was one of the local recipients and received a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and Fender Precision Bass electric bass.

“It felt great to be able to give back to the communities and areas I grew up in,” Mr. Hook said. “I loved growing up here in the ‘Burgh and playing music with my friends and classmates was such a huge part of that for me.”

Both instruments will be incorporated into the Shaler Area Middle School’s music program and played by students in the school’s jazz band and orchestra. Ellen Spondike, middle school music teacher, said the gift was “a total surprise and unbelievably generous,” and middle school students have been excited to play the instruments.  

“Even if a student doesn’t have an interest in pursuing a professional music career, the amount of knowledge and joy that comes from just learning the basics of a musical instrument is invaluable,” Mr. Hook said. “Music also has a magical knack to bring people together and create positive memories with one another.”

Mr. Hook has been touring with Dan + Shay since 2013 and will head on the road with the band again in March when they travel to Australia. Dan + Shay will open for Rascal Flatts this July at the KeyBank Pavilion.