Instrument drive continues for local school district

  • Sep. 21, 2016 3:36 p.m.

The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools is still collecting a wide variety of instruments for the students of the district until Oct. 1st.

Band instruments, including brass, winds, percussion and more, can be dropped of at any City fire stations or at the Red Deer Public Schools District (RDPSD) office on 53rd St.

“The really important part of this instrument drive is our priority as a district on equity in the schools. We don’t want a child’s circumstances to limit their educational potential,” said Bruce Buruma, executive director for the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools.

“For us to be able to offer band to those students is incredible. There are good quality used instruments out there. We would love new instruments, but the reality is – especially with budgets and our economy – music is a resource-intense program. However, musical education has huge benefits for students, even outside of that area of their lives.”

Buruma said the Foundation has already reached their initial goal of collecting 50 instruments, and is still accepting donations. He said the drive has been an incredible success with a variety of instruments being passed to the next generation of musicians.

“It’s been amazing to see what people have stored in their closets. We’ve had quite a lot of diversity in what people have donated,” he said.

Buruma said in addition to common band instruments such as trumpets and clarinets, there were some violins, guitars and even two pianos donated.

“What we want to be able to do – and really, the ultimate purpose of this drive – is to have good quality instruments for our students to access, and for them to be able to access the instruments they want.

“What will inspire kids is being able to use the instrument that they would really like to play, so we’re really happy about the diversity in the instruments. Typically, a band would have a few trombones, a trumpet or two, flutes, clarinets and percussion so of course we’re looking for those, but we’ve had some more uncommon school band instruments such as a few violins and even a euphonium (brass instrument) come in.”

Donations will be opened up to all schools across RDPSD, but three schools in particular are looking to develop band programs – Lindsay Thurber, G.H Dawe and Normandeau. Lindsay Thurber is seeking to offer an introduction to band program, where G.H Dawe and Normandeau look to develop new programs entirely.

“Part of the challenge around music education is that it leads into itself. You have to have good musical education in middle schools to build up to the high school and even college levels. If a child doesn’t have access to musical education in middle school, the chance of them ever getting into a music education program in high school or later is much more limited,” Buruma said.

“We’re just thrilled that we have the opportunity for an introductory band program at Thurber, but we really want to ensure access to instruments in the middle school level as well.

“Many times people have moved on from their instrument or upgraded – this is a way of getting those instruments out to continue to be played. They can’t make a sound from in the closet, but in a band room or a home practice, they can make music again.”

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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