Posts Tagged ‘Brian Reed’

The Business Monthly

By Susan Kim, Staff Writer

MAY 4, 2015


A Columbia family is honoring the memory of their son and brother by introducing music to kids who don’t have the resources to purchase an instrument or take lessons.

In his short career, Aaron Reed was a founding member of two bands, The Runways (2006–2010) and New World Commotion (2010–2014). While spending time in Ireland, he also recorded a solo album.

A graduate of Hammond High School, Reed also found great joy in leading others to pick up a musical instrument.

Tragically, he died suddenly in February 2014 in Buffalo, N.Y., when he was 21. His family, still grieving the loss, has started a foundation through which they hope to carry forth his passion for getting people to play music.

The Pick Me Up Foundation, named for the last song he composed, has the mission of providing musical instruments, equipment and lessons to under-resourced kids.

His parents, who live in Kings Contrivance, along with his sister Julia, a University of Maryland student, have been collecting used musical instruments and, by working with nonprofit partners, giving them to kids who are entering the world of music.

The effort is even more poignant given that, after driving his son’s belongings back from Buffalo, Brian Reed parked his loaded van in his driveway overnight. Sometime during the night, someone broke into the vehicle and stole Aaron’s prized electric guitar — a Fender Stratocaster — along with his amp, and other equipment worth more than $10,000.

First, Hear the Music

Brian Reed said the foundation is about more than collecting instruments and funds; it’s about keeping his son’s love of music alive. Aaron Reed’s songs are posted on the foundation’s web site at

“We decided to start the foundation because Aaron loved playing music and getting other people turned onto music, especially in his own age group,” said Reed. “When he was in high school, he bought his own recording equipment. He turned the downstairs into a recording studio. He loved recording the music of others, and it made him genuinely happy to see how excited they were when they heard their music on a CD. We just thought a good way to honor him would be to come up with a foundation that would help kids that don’t have access to musical instruments or lessons or things like that.”

Now, the foundation is raising money to repair and recondition the collected instruments. “We now have more than 250 instruments. On average, it costs $50 to recondition each instrument before it can be placed in a kid’s hand,” explained Reed. “That’s $12,500.”

To help raise that money, Reed — a professor and the chair of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering at University of Maryland, Baltimore County — will be bike riding this July from Columbia, taking off from the restaurant Nottingham’s, to Buffalo, a journey of some 400 miles.

And that’s where the business community can participate, Reed said. “We are doing two things to raise money: We are asking people one-on-one, and we are also having a group challenge that people can take into their workplaces, their churches, neighborhoods and other groups.”

Adding a celebrity flair, the Goo Goo Dolls rock band donated a signed guitar that the foundation will raffle off to those who sponsor the ride. Reed is calling the trip “Ride for Music.”

Chamber Getting the Word Out

When Reed first started the instrument drive, he cast a wide net, he said. “I was figuring out ways to get the word out.”

He joined the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and began networking with businesses, and they, in turn, have begun informing other businesses about Pick Me Up’s mission.

“[The Chamber has] been very supportive,” said Reed. “They posted information on their web site about the instrument drive and will post details about the bike ride as well. The Chamber is one of the best ways of getting local companies involved on a more continual basis.”

Local Businesses Chipping In

Already, local businesspeople are helping to support the Pick Me Up Foundation. Reed is working with Jim Gross, owner of Kidz In Training, who also coaches track at Hammond High School, as his trainer for his long bike ride. Scott Ewart, who runs ScottE Software, is assisting Pick Me Up Foundation with web site design as well as Facebook and Twitter updates. When Reed is on the ride, Ewart will help locate him and send updates to his supporters via social media.

“We are not just about soliciting funds,” said Reed. “What really honors Aaron’s spirit of generosity is getting that instrument in a kid’s hand. That’s the outcome we want.”

Reed is definitely looking for corporate sponsors, but more than that, he’d like his son’s music to be heard. “I want to get Aaron’s music out there and have it make an impact. Just think if his music was listened to by thousands of people.”

– See original article at:

UMBC Magazine

At Play – Spring 2015

The Right Tune

w15_ATPLAY_right-tuneWhen Brian Reed’s son Aaron died suddenly in January 2014, the family looked for a way to honor his life and his passion for music.

“We wanted to ask for some type of donation in lieu of flowers,” says Reed, a professor and chair of UMBC’s chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering department. “I realized I had never heard of anyone doing a musical instrument drive.”

The result was the Pick Me Up (PMU) Foundation, created in Aaron’s memory to provide musical instruments to underprivileged children, and named after a song Aaron was working on when he died.

After a strong response to a request for financial donations, Reed, his wife, Esther, and daughter Julia organized a drive to collect instruments. They ended up with over 250.

The foundation gives both donations and instruments to two highly respected music organizations (Hungry for Music and Music is Art) which recondition the instruments and choose the recipients. To date, over 200 instruments have been given to children and school programs.

The family plans a live music fundraiser as well as a charity bike ride from Baltimore to Buffalo, where Reed grew up and Aaron lived at the time of his death.

“Some of the musicians Aaron hung out with didn’t have the opportunities he had,” says Reed. “Our hope is that every time a child has the chance to learn and appreciate music, Aaron’s spirit will live on as well.”

– Eleanor Lewis

Pick Me Up Foundation LogoBrian Reed has been added to the Board of Directors for Music Is Art. See the full list of board members by clicking the graphic:

Music Is Art BOD



Thank you to everyone for coming out and celebrating Aarons life and donating to the foundation

Big thanks to Esther Reed, Brian Reed and Julia Reed for being strong through the hard times

And thank you to Shelby Dodson for organizing the event!

From Fox 5 News

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 6.27.45 AM

COLUMBIA, Md. – Here is a follow up to a story we brought you earlier this year. It is the story of a family’s heartache. But they are creating hope for others out of their own loss.

Aaron Reed had an ear for music and a generous heart.

“He was always willing to lend an instrument out,” said his father Brian. “If someone didn’t know how to play an instrument, he got really excited if they wanted to learn how to play.”

Aaron died suddenly last February. He had been living in Buffalo, N.Y. Days later, his dad went to retrieve Aaron’s belongings, including his music equipment.

Brian Reed returned home to Columbia, Md. But someone broke into the van while it was parked in the driveway and stole everything.

Police never solved the crime.

“If anyone has them, drop them off tomorrow,” Brian said. “We’ll take them. No questions asked.”

Aaron’s family has started a foundation.

“The foundation is named after the song Aaron and his friends in Buffalo were working on called ‘Pick Me Up,’” Aaron’s father explained.

They are collecting used instruments.

“We’re going to have them reconditioned and put them in the hands of under resourced kids who wouldn’t have the opportunity to play music,” said Brian.

They will be collecting at Kings Contrivance Village Center in Columbia on Saturday.

“To take a tragedy and try to make something good about it is tremendously therapeutic for our family,” he said.

The foundation’s big drive is this weekend, but they want to keep the instrument donations coming in. In fact, they have teamed up with a business called Music and Arts.

“They’ve opened up their stores in Howard County, Arundel Mills, Ellicott City and Laurel to accept instruments,” said Brian.

They are proud that Aaron’s spirit will live on.

“I have a saying: ‘Eyes forward,’” Brian told us. “Look forward. What happened in the past can change. If it’s negative, it’s just going to be a sea anchor on your leg. So we want to look ahead.”

If you want to donate an instrument or help The Pick Me Up Foundation, you can find all of the information at

Watch the video here:

From ABC2News on November 19th

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 6.30.46 AM

Aaron Reed passed away suddenly in January