Parkland Students Made a Trumpet From Bullet Casings for Musicians to Play at Shows

'Instrument of Hope' hits America's main stage

Harnessing the power of music to engage and spark conversation, a group representing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students forged a trumpet from bullet casings. Now, they're sending it on a nationwide tour to keep the gun-control issue on America's main stage.

So far, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Keyon Harrold, Glen Friedman and Amos Lee have played the "Instrument of Hope" at their shows, as have Panic at the Disco and the Revivalists, two bands with songs about gun violence. 

Publicis worked on the project for ShineMSD, a group created by Parkland families to use arts to promote healing. In the poignant and pointed project video below, you'll hear Harrold, a Grammy-winning jazz artist, use the trumpet to perform "America the Beautiful." 

Making of the Instrument of Hope (776)

The trumpet uses 100 spent AR-15 casings—the same number of rounds fired during the February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. Instrument designer Josh Landress donated his time and labor, and fabrication costs totaled just $2,000. 

"Looking to honor the memory of those lost to gun violence and make a lasting statement against it, the 'Instrument Of Hope' was the perfect project," says Joe Garrity, president of ShineMSD. The nonprofit raises funds and provides mental-health programs for Parkland victims and families. Seventeen people lost their lives in the shooting, while 17 others were wounded.

Last year, Garrity's daughter Sawyer and her classmate Andrea Peña, who both survived the bloodbath, put the tragedy into perspective by writing and singing the piano ballad "Shine," a call for unity and change.

The song received considerable attention following its performance during a CNN Town Hall telecast, inspiring Garrity and Peña to explore other ways of using music to engage the public's attention. Publicis consulted with the pair on the trumpet project, and the students used social media to invite artists across the musical spectrum to participate. More acts are expected to blow the horn on stage in the near future. 

"Chris Wilson, a copywriter on the team, first had the idea to melt bullet casings down to create a musical instrument," Publicis executive creative director Matt McKay tells Muse. "ShineMSD's mission is to heal through the power of art and music. Their message lined up perfectly with our execution." 

McKay views the instrument as "a symbol to rally together, a call for action, to charge into battle for a just cause. There is a lot of symbolism built into the selection of instrument. We're trying to reach young people who can effect change. But causes are not always top of mind. When horrific events happen, people take to social platforms and express outrage, but that quickly fades. And people just go back to their normal lives. We created this in an attempt to keep the conversation around gun violence alive."

What's more, he believes the "Instrument of Hope" will have more staying power than a 30-second PSA or online push. 

"We made a physical tool that is used to create different sounds and songs, but always carries the same message," McKay says. "We used the musicians as our medium. A medium that reaches millions of people and costs almost nothing. We were able to put our message in front of the right people, without interrupting their time or experience." 
 
Indeed, the aural focus seems apt, given the horrifying sound of gunshots. Here, we have a complete transformation—the bullets acquired a new form, allowing a deeper message to ring out long after the performers leave the stage.

CREDITS

Client: ShineMSD
Campaign Title: Instrument of Hope
Agency:  Publicis New York
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Matt McKay
Creative Directors: Justin Via, Daniel Massih, Josh Horn
Associate Creative Director: Fabio Ozorio
Copywriter:  Chris Wilson
Art Director: Eduardo "Dudu" Gomes
Creative Director of Design: Patrik Bolecek
Designer: Halli Rosin, Elizabeth Kenney, Spencer Chan
Strategy Director: Emily Canan
Production:
Music Producer: Rachel Rauch
Executive Producer, Production: Lauren Schneidmuller
Program Management:
Director, Program Management: Anna Fung
Senior Program Manager: Ron Jervis
Program Manager: James Cloughen
Website Development:
Senior Brand Logistics Manager: Rich Gladis
Platform Developer: Don Wang
Project Coordinator: Melanie Jarcaig
Director of Technology: Carlos Batista
Quality Assurance Analyst: Nidhi Murthy 
Interactive Developer: Don Bui
Experience Designer: Shannon Andeel
Account Supervisor: Ayesha Khara
Photographers: John Tyler Donathan, Tiago Chediak
Videographers: Dexter Brierley, Joe Fusco, Tom Van Scoyoc, David Dougherty
Editorial /Production Company:  Nice Pixels
Editor: Marc Lagana, Kevin Curran
Post Production Director: Elisa Gougoux
Producer:  Kathryn Lemke, Maria Marmol
Audio Record & Mix:  Nice Pixels
Sound Design: Nice Pixels
PR: Janice Snook, janice & associates pr

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.