By Taralyn Wiley, Staff Writer—
After being forced to close its doors during the pandemic, the Songbirds guitar museum announced that it will reopen this fall with an interactive experience and performance hall as part of the new and improved Songbirds Foundation.
The museum and concert venue closed last August due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The investors decided to donate the building, making it an entirely nonprofit organization with hopes of teaching and healing children through music. The foundation is a separate entity from the museum.
The exhibit will feature three sections: a hands-on area for learning to build and play the guitar with interactive pedaling and picking systems, an exhibit of Chattanooga’s abundant music history as well as a rotating section highlighting some of the greats in the music industry. Executive Director Reed Caldwell plans for a soft opening in September of 2021.
“Chattanooga’s section will focus on its robust music history,” Caldwell said.
The foundation has concert lovers covered too. There are plans to bring them back to Songbirds’ event space, with a possibility of eight concerts booked for the end of 2021. The room is also open for rental for events such as weddings, parties and company gatherings.
Songbirds Foundation also has a YouTube channel featuring their vault sessions where they have over 100 interviews with seasoned musicians such as Eric Johnson, Robben Ford and Kevin Bacon. They also post older recordings in an effort to preserve music history.
“We wanted to give back to the community here in Chattanooga.” Caldwell said.
All proceeds will go toward the foundation’s principal program, Guitar for Kids. The program started in 2016 and has grown into several tiers to better reach the community. Their in-school program provides Chattanooga and surrounding cities with sets of guitars and Songbirds’ curriculum. They also provide the music teachers guitar lessons to better equip them to teach their students. The foundation partners with other organizations across the state to send guitar teachers to other nonprofit organizations such as the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger and Boys and Girls Clubs. Their Music therapy program sends experienced music therapists to conduct cognitive therapy with children that have been injured or suffer from neurodevelopmental disorders.