The Neal Casal Music Foundation recently made a trip to Morris Knolls High School to donate new instruments and equipment to the school’s music program. The late Circles Around The Sun guitarist, the foundation’s namesake, graduated from the Rockaway, NJ high school in 1987.
Among the items donated were guitars, amplifiers, and a keyboard, purchased by the non-profit through funds raised by outreach to Casal’s extensive fanbase. The Foundation also secured additional items through an arrangement with iconic instrument manufacturer Fender Guitars. Casal’s longtime manager and friend Gary Waldman—who also serves as NCMF’s executive director—visited the school on April 29th along with several other NCMF members to personally deliver the instruments to students and faculty.
“Neal loved his days as a young rocker at Morris Knolls High School back in the big-hair ’80s,” Waldman said in a press release. “I think he would be thrilled that we’ve been able to give other young musicians some great instruments to play in his honor.”
The Neal Casal Music Foundation was created in honor of Neal following his death on August 26th, 2019 with the mission of supplying instruments to music programs across the country as well as supporting organizations that provide mental health resources to musicians. In 2019, the 501c3 non-profit donated over $25,000 to MusiCares with the proceeds from an all-star tribute concert at The Capitol Theatre.
The Foundation has also raised additional funds through a Kickstarter campaign offering a coffee table book of Neal’s extensive collection of photographs, dubbed Tomorrow’s Sky: Photographs by Neal Casal, released in 2020. More tributes to the guitarist are slated for 2021, with a 41-song tribute album, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, expected to arrive in autumn. Produced by Dave Schools, the album features contributions from Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Steve Earle, and many more as they perform selections from Casal’s extensive body of work.