The Mockingbird Foundation has made a $300 donation to help a rural music program recover from a brutal fire (see photos).

Early on January 6, 2004, a fire broke out in the auditorium of the Williams Township School, a pre-k through 8th-grade “school of distinction” in the small community of Whiteville, NC. The fire destroyed the main building of the campus, which also housed administration offices, twenty-five classrooms,   a computer lab, and the band room. Insurance will replace the building, furniture, and textbooks, but not the teachers’ resource books, teaching units, lesson plans, and similar materials representing the entire teaching careers of the faculty, some of whom had taught for more than 30 years.

The Mockingbird Foundation’s donation is earmarked for recovery of the band room and replacement of instruments and related materials which had been housed there. Additional contributions may be sent (and made payable) to Williams Township School Recovery, RBC Centura Bank, 203 Washington Street, Whiteville, NC 28472. General contributions should be made to the attention of Debbie McPherson. Contributions intended to restore and advance the school’s music program should be made to the attention of “Instrument/Band Room Recovery”.

Williams Township School, built in 1936, is located in a small, close-knit community in rural, Eastern N.C. Its web site at shows the school as it had been prior to the fire. The recovery effort is being led by C. Lovett, M. Rowell, C. Scott, and C. Barkley, identified in Whiteville’s local newspaper as The Phoenix Committee.

The Mockingbird Foundation was incorporated in 1997 by fans of the band Phish. Operating on an entirely volunteer basis, with no offices or paid staff, the Foundation has raised and distributed nearly $200,000 to support music education programs nationwide. Further information about the Foundation and its other funding efforts is available online at