When Barbara Barleen’s grandson, Nathan, started attending Avalon Charter School, a K-8 charter school in Apache Junction, the school had no music program. Just to give them some musical outlet, a school administrator used to go into the classrooms and sing a few songs with the kids.
Then one day, the school went on a field trip to Barleens Arizona Opry where the kids were very excited to meet some of the musicians and try out some of the instruments. This was at a time when the family patriarch, Lloyd Barleen, was still alive and as the school kids were walking out, he asked one of the school chaperones, “Why don’t you have a music program at your school?” When Lloyd heard the school didn’t have enough money, he turned to his twins and said, “You girls change that!” And that’s exactly what they did.
The program the Barleen twins, Barbara and Brenda, created was to sell flashing, sparkle rings in their gift shop. The rings sell for $3.00 and the entire proceeds are donated to Avalon Charter School to support their music program and other extra-curricular activities.
Before every intermission, the audience is reminded what the sale of these rings support and so far, the promotion has been very successful. According to Avalon, for the past six years during their season, Barleens has been donating $3,000 to $4,000 per month to their school. Now the school has a full time music teacher, sheet music and music stands. They even have audio equipment and the school also has 30 brand new acoustic guitars.
Barbara Barleen is proud of their assistance. “We really wanted to do something that would make an impact in the local community and what better way than to share our love of music!”