Being a former band student, Frank Pain, director of content for Townsquare Media, has always wanted to help students who can’t afford to be in band because of the high cost of instruments.
He’ll get that opportunity to help out with his Ride for Change’s annual motorcycle ride that will stop in the Odessa-Midland area on May 3.
This is the second year that Pain has done a Ride for Change, starting the fundraising effort last year.
“Last year, the ride for change benefited scholarships in each of the markets for incoming college students,” Pain said. “But each year, we change up who we benefit and such.”
This year’s ride is an effort to raise funds for musical instruments for low-income students so they can participate in their school band.
“Basically, the whole point behind the ride, regardless of who benefits, is to even out the playing field for people, in this case, low-income students,” Pain said. “There are a lot of students that want to participate in band. They start off in middle school and the parents see the price tag for a new trumpet or clarinet and some families can’t afford that. This is to raise funds as well as take in donations of used instruments that we can then get repaired and donate to various school districts. The point of this is to help kids that would like to participate in band but can’t afford to.”
For Pain, music has been a big part of his life and it has followed him throughout his career in radio.
“We’re in radio. Music has been my life,” Pain said. “I grew up as a full-on band nerd. It literally directed me in the path that I took as a career and it’s our opportunity to keep the music alive.”
Attending Bay City High School over by the gulf coast, Pain played the tuba in concert band and the sousaphone during marching season. He now lives in Abilene.
During this year’s ride, Ride for Change will be raising funds and collecting musical instruments for local students.
While his family had no trouble paying for his band instrument, he understands that not everyone has been as fortunate which is what made him want to do a fundraiser for low-income students.
“I didn’t grow up rich but my father could afford my band instrument,” Pain said. “Finally, hearing from these students that were leaving school and saying how much they wish they could’ve been in band, that made me realize how important band was in my life. I wanted to do my part to give these kids the opportunity that I had. There’s much more to band than just getting on the football field to march at halftime shows. There are a lot of life experiences that I got from band.”
On Monday, Pain will arrive in the area at about 11 a.m. to meet with area educators and band directors to discuss the importance and need of better funding for liberal arts in schools.
As far as which area educators he will meet with, that is yet to be determined.
“I haven’t got particulars as far as specific ones,” Pain said. “At least not in the Midland-Odessa area.”
The whole fundraiser is going to take place from May 3-June 30, according to Pain.
“We don’t want people to think they can donate in one day,” Pain said. “The ride itself, I’ll be doing a day, night trip and raise awareness for the campaign itself.”
The motorcycle ride visits 11 communities in Texas and Oklahoma. According to Pain, it covers between 2,200-2,600 miles.
Odessa-Midland will be the first stop on this year’s ride.
“The ride itself, from beginning to end is just me,” Pain said. “It’s a solo ride. Last year, we had people tag along from one or two legs. But the ride itself is just me. The full ride, I guess you can say.”
Pain says the part he enjoys the most about the ride is visiting people at each stop.
“Each market I go to, I get to spend time with people and that’s the best part of the ride,” Pain said. “It’s the human experience. It’s great to spend time with these people and talk to them. I would try and talk to as many people as possible and see what’s all going on in these communities and how we can better serve them in the years to come.”
After seeing how much tension there was in the world last year from the pandemic to social injustice, Pain said he wanted to use his love of motorcycles to help raise funds and benefit other people.
“Between motorcycles, guns and music, those are the trinity for me,” Pain said. “It’s the most freeing experience. That was one of the things that led me to come up with the ride for change last year.
“Last year, tensions were so high in the world for a variety of reasons. You had the pandemic. You had social injustice, etc. with all of that stuff, there’s a lot of division on social media. Being a media personality, it’s my job to be on social media and it just got to the point where it overwhelmed me. I told my boss that I had it up to here with this anxiety with everything and all the chaos in the world. I wanted to get on my bike and just cruise around. My company was cool with it. It’s about taking a negative and turning it into a positive.”