Scout Seeks Musical Donations

By Ann Needle

Aldape is looking for donations of musical instruments to bring to Laotian students.  Courtesy Pencils and Pens

Aldape is looking for donations of musical instruments to bring to Laotian students.
Courtesy Pencils and Pens

For most college-bound students at the end of the summer, packing and sorting is enough to keep busy. But for some, there is other work to do before heading off for school.

Take Pablo Aldape, Nashoba Regional High School’s Class of 2014 salutatorian, who worked a time-consuming summer job, and is preparing for freshman year at Stanford University. The job ended right after Labor Day — and the final work began on his Boy Scout Eagle Project. He noted that the Boy Scouts cleared his project idea just as work was ending, finally leaving time to devote to the project.

The deadline: September 13, when Aldape leaves for California. The mission: collect a variety of musical instruments for Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that builds schools, trains teachers, offers scholarships, and brings educational materials to areas where most children don’t have access to a good education.

Pointing to his own life-long interest in music and music literacy, Aldape described his plan to complete his Eagle project with Troop 1 Stow by working with Pencils of Promise to get instruments and music materials into the hands of school children in rural Laos.

Got maracas?
Aldape said that, though he has been playing a variety of musical instruments  most of his life, his interest lies with percussion. So, Aldape said he is focusing on getting donations of used percussion instruments of any kind from family, friends, and Stow at large. Among the examples Aldape noted he would be happy to take were drums, symbols, bongos, shakers, and recorders—even if these were children’s items.  As Aldape summed it up, “Anything people have lying around.”

Another useful donation Aldape named was sheet music and any other tools related to learning music.  All of these items help support music literacy, a cause Aldape called a top interest in his life.

“There are a lot of studies showing that if you know the schema that underlies musical performance, it helps with a lot of abilities, such as spacial relationships and math,” he explained.

Financial donations would be appreciated, as well, Aldape said. Aiming to gather and ship more than 30 instruments to Laos,  he remarked, “International shipping, especially for a hefty package, can run about $1,000.” Meanwhile, Aldape said he ran a bottle drive to start building up the needed funds, and is available to do any work patrols – yard work, clean-up, general painting, etc. — before he leaves for college.

Aldape recalled being inspired to do this project by his father’s long-time friend, Martin Momota, who teaches in two schools in rural Laos. As with Momota’s schools, Aldape remarked that most Laotian schools “are typically in very lush areas, one room in a wooden structure in the middle of the forest. They learn what they can with the resources they have.”
To earn his Eagle, Aldape must do so before his 18th birthday, which is in December. While one of the hallmarks of an Eagle project is it should somehow benefit the local community, Aldape reflected, “I think a lot of communities can use help,  and I don’t think it’s inherently wrong to reach outside our community.”

Commenting on why he is motivated to earn the Eagle rank while starting a busy college career, Aldape said, “I’m not doing it for the badge. I don’t see an Eagle badge as a victory — it’s a motivation to do something good.”
Anyone wanting more information about making a donation, or about a possible work patrol, can contact Aldape at