'Instruments are meant to last': Vernon school collecting used instruments to start a band
The band teacher wants to put people's old high school clarinets and trumpets to good use
After Alexis Park Elementary School teacher Tobi Huggins received a donation of an old drum set for the school's music class, she started to wonder who else had old instruments from their school days collecting dust at home.
The Vernon teacher decided to put a call out to the public for used instruments, with the hope that if the school gets enough, it can start a band with the grade 6 and 7 students.
"It's super exciting and fun for them to have the opportunity to play these band instruments, because there's something really magical about playing all together and making music like that where everybody has a different piece and it comes together to make something special," said Huggins.
The north Okanagan school already has guitars, xylophones, drums and ukuleles. So Huggins, who also has training teaching high school band, is hoping to collect some woodwind instruments, such as flutes and clarinets, as well as trumpets, trombones and saxophones.
"When I've taught elementary in the past I usually try and teach band to the grade 6 and sevens and they really enjoy it. It's fun. It feels older for them. And so, it gives them this extra experience in music — that next step," she told Daybreak South's Brady Strachan.
Principal Mike Sutch said he "110 per cent" supports Huggins' initiative.
"I'm a musician as well. I'm a drummer and when I heard that we had a drum set donated to the school I said, 'well Tobi, how can we make this bigger?'" said Sutch.
"We started brainstorming about how we could afford it, because instrument rentals are very, very expensive."
After sending out a tweet and speaking to the district, Sutch said they've already been hearing from people who want to donate.
Huggins hopes the instruments people bring to the school are in good shape.
"Instruments are meant to last. So, I'm hoping that most of the instruments are in pretty good repair [and] just might need new pads or some tweaking and tuning here and there," she said.
Power of practise
If the school is able to get a band program started, Huggins thinks the kids will benefit from what she describes as the "power of practise."
"As we work at something, we get better at it, and music is such a stark, obvious example of that. When they start playing, it sounds terrible, but very quickly as they practise and as we work at it in class and as they get taught, it turns into music," she said.
Sutch echoed her excitement for a possible band program.
"If we can get this off the ground, it could change our kids' lives, right? It's going to be awesome," he said.
With files from Christine Coulter and Daybreak South