First Lady Joanna Tomblin arrived in Shepherdstown Tuesday to share in the receipt of a VH1 grant for musical instruments at Shepherdstown Middle School. Tomblin attended a gathering there where she was entertained by the award-winning school band. She then celebrated with them as school officials shared the news of the $30,000 worth of new Yamaha musical instruments that will be coming to the school.
According to band director Chad Conant, the school has already received approximatley 40 instruments. A statement from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, VH1's Save the Music Foundation, a national nonprofit, has provided more than $45 million in new musical instruments to 1,700 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country.
The partnership between WVDCH and VH1 is the first of its kind in West Virginia. Stephen Skinner, member on the Commission on the Arts, shared that his first thought on being approached about the instrument program was Shepherdstown Middle School. The local school is the first in the area to be awarded the grant
Tomblin shared that she has seen a great improvement in West Virginia schools that have benefited from the partnership.
Following the event at the middle school, the First Lady traveled to downtown Shepherdstown where she was joined by a group of local businesswomen for a tour of the main street shops.
"What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon," she said as she visited a variety of stores, meeting and greeting people along the way.
The tour began at the Entler Hotel in the town's Visitor's Center where Tomblin received a brief tour and history on that building. Leading the way through the afternoon tour was Meredith Wait, president of the town's business association.
Wait pointed out that a significant number of the businesses in the downtown area are owned and operated by women.
Following the tour and window-shopping all over town, Tomblin enjoyed tea and treats at Shaharazade's Restaurant and Tea Room where owner Lisa Olney explained the special tea on the menu in honor of the town's 250th celebration. Tomblin was presented with a container of the tea prior to her departure.