Earlier this month Clarkston High School and Sequoyah Middle School received $50,000 each in instruments donated by the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which awards grants to Title-I school music programs throughout the county.
Tricia Steel, program director for Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, said each school was chosen from among 500 grant applicants. “They were selected because they both have very strong music programs with dedicated music teachers,” Steel said.
Steel said Sequoyah Middle is doing great things with its music program but it didn’t have enough instruments for all the students interested in band participation. “Kids were almost as excited to get their own mouthpiece as they were their own instrument.”
“At Sequoyah kids were spraying sanitation spray in the instruments and sharing them during each class,” Steel said. She said the school received 43 instruments, which will allow each student interested in the band program at Sequoyah to participate.
In Clarkston’s case, Steel said the instruments being used were old and, in some cases, falling apart. Although the $100,000 was evenly split, Steel said the instruments provided to Clarkston were more expensive, so it received fewer.
“Clarkston received 16 instruments such as tubas, euphoniums and timpani,” Steel said.
The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation donates instruments to approximately 200 schools each year.