Nearly three months after entering a national contest to win new instruments for its band program, Teasley Middle School has emerged victorious in its quest.
The school's band program has won $20,000 in instruments in the Yamaha Quest for Music Education contest.
Sean Furilla, the band's director, said many of the instruments currently in use were purchased when the school opened — in 1986. The money will help purchase roughly five instruments.
"This is a huge step, but it’s only the first step," he added, noting the school needs to purchase 30 replacement instruments, which range in cost from $3,000 to $8,000 each. "A positive musical experience at Teasley is crucial for every student."
Furilla also said the community has rallied behind Teasley's program, as many residents have donated money and instruments. Also, the band's recent winter concert drew 1,200 audience members, Furilla stated.
The band program has grown to 250 students in the last two years, and the total number is expected to rise to about 400 when the school opens its new facility and adds sixth-grade classes, the school district said.
"It is a good problem to have," said Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil said of the anticipated growth. "We are so proud of how far our band program has come over the last two years. We are excited about being able to increase these opportunities to our upcoming sixth-graders as well."
Furilla noted providing students, many of who come from limited financial means, with access to these instruments gives the the "chance to be equal."
"It’s an environment where the varying levels of economic diversity vanish," he said of his class. "Band is a place that wipes away all boundaries and anything is possible. The 'rich' and 'poor' labels disappear and the world of possibility opens before their eyes."
For more information or how to donate an instrument or money towards the purchase, contact Furilla at (770) 470-7077 ext. 230 or at email@example.com.