Some Idaho schools don’t have enough musical instruments to go around, said WSU music education instructor Del Hungerford.
The Moscow-Pullman Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international women’s music fraternity, is organizing a concert and musical instrument drive to support local high schools’ band programs.
Hungerford, a WSU Sigma Alpha Iota alumna, said when she worked on a concert with Kamiah High School, there were hardly any decent working instruments in the entire school.
“We simply had a discussion about ways that we could get more instruments,” Hungerford said.
One thing led to another, and a musical instrument drive was created.
“I sent out an e-mail to several schools that I'd worked with in Idaho District 2 and found that they had the same issue (of) not enough instruments to go around for all the students who wanted to play,” she said.
Chrissy Mizar, Kamiah band director, said she has a lot of students who can’t afford to rent instruments, which costs around $25 to $30 a month, so they’re simply not in band.
So when Mizar heard about the instrument drive, she was thrilled.
“Right now we don’t have a high school band,” Mizar said.
Mizar said it feels like Christmas. Apparently, an anonymous donor went down to Keeney Brothers Music Center in Moscow and bought a brand new alto saxophone to donate. A Kamiah student had been asking to play a saxophone for months, but there weren’t any to give him, Mizar said.
“When I gave it to him his eyes lit up,” Mizar said. “To see him so excited was so great.”
The Kamiah band currently has 15 instruments loaned out to students with 15 more broken and unplayable, Mizar said. However, it’s more expensive to fix the instruments than to buy new ones altogether, she said.
For instance, Mizar said they have one clarinet that seems as though it’s in pristine condition, but the barrel is broken. Replacing the barrel would cost $250.
This instrument drive will greatly affect students in the community, Mazir said.
Hungerford said the musical instrument drive that is currently taking place will end with the SAI Spring Musicale on Sunday, Feb. 3. All instruments from the drive will be displayed at the concert, which is the organization’s annual fundraiser for the Greater Palouse Outreach Grant.
“Our goal is 50 instruments total,” Hungerford said.
The instruments will come in and be checked for repairs then distributed between the four participating schools, which are Kamiah, NezPerce, Highland High School in Craigmont and Kooskia.
“They've each given me a preferred list and hopefully when it's all said and done, we'll have some instruments for them,” Hungerford said. “The instruments will remain in the general school inventory for students to borrow until they are done with band.”
Instruments can be dropped off at either the WSU School of Music, the Lionel Hampton School of Music at University of Idaho, the Whitworth University Music Department in Spokane, the Keeney Brothers Band Instrument Center in Moscow, the Lewis and Clark State College Humanities Office in Lewiston or Hoffman Music in Spokane.