The instrumental music students at Lake Havasu High School would greatly appreciate help with beefing up our instrument inventory. Lake Havasu City is located about 3 hours west of Phoenix and about 2 ½ hours south of Las Vegas so we do not have any music stores nearby. Most of the students at our school participate in the free or reduced lunch program.
First of all, our band room is not designed, acoustically or dimensionally, to be a band room. Several years ago, for unknown reasons to me, the former, beautiful, tiered, large band room was paved over to make a storage room for community as well as high school theater sets. This should demonstrate the school district’s past discouragement for the music program.
Secondly, most of the instruments that my students are using are from a few decades ago and many of the cases are coming apart. When cases deteriorate, obviously, the instruments dry-up and require extensive repair and eventually are in bad shape overall. We currently need two piccolos (we have one, but it doesn't work because it is warped and curved!), two 4-valve euphoniums, two sousaphone cases, three trumpets. We also need 3 full-sized cellos, and two full-sized violas. Our euphoniums are from the 1970s before our current school district existed (instruments are labeled Mohave county school district.) Our sousaphone cases are literally held together by bungee cords, and the chip board has been broken through to reveal the insulation in the cases.
Last week a custodian informed me that there were several string instruments stored in a small room located above the auditorium where the air filters and air conditioning unit is located. I went up there with him to find a plethora of ¾ sized violas and ¾ sized cellos of which we had zero previously. The string instruments we do have were made in 1960, and they actually sound great! The problem is that they are mostly ¾ size which is difficult for most high school students to play.
The bass drum carriers for our marching band are in such terrible shape that they actually cause bruises and physical injuries to the students. We ordered 4 new ones this year, but those new ones do not fit anyone with a large body frame. Two of our larger drummers needed to once again use the old style of carrier which was painful for them to use.
Sadly, I have had to turn away some students from our orchestra program because I did not have a school instrument for them to play, and their families were not able to afford the rent from the distributor we use. Fortunately, we do have some support with community members, clubs, and businesses to help us, but the cost of new instruments are so high that the money we do get is used quickly. The former band director used money to travel and compete with the students, but he did not invest any money towards instruments, instrument repair, nor music stands (which are also falling apart.) Using the money we (students, families, and I) have raised on purchasing more instruments that are gently used rather than a smaller number of instruments that are new would be a wise investment for us because we need so many. The students have been eager and determined to help with fundraising to improve our program even though some will be graduating soon. They are excited about leaving a positive legacy behind and supporting the program that helped them so much.Read more »