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As part of an initiative to encourage music participation in young students, Elk County Catholic High School (ECCHS) is seeking donations of old band instruments which will be put into the hands of fourth grade students to provide them with the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.
"We are hoping to increase the number of students by putting instruments in their hands and to build a strong music program," said ECCHS Band Director Ray Knight.
He explained that each St. Marys Catholic Elementary School (SMCES) fourth grade student will receive an instrument to use during their weekly instrumental music class, a hands-on opportunity that allows students to play various instruments.
Currently students participate in two general music classes each week. The instrumental class will take the place of one of the courses, while the musical preparation class, a basic fundamentals course, will remain the same.
Knight noted this setup is similar to what many public schools currently have in place. He noted that Clearfield Area School District has 250 students involved in its high school band program, many of whom began in the program at the elementary level.
"The instruments would be made available before school starts in the morning to allow students the opportunity to practice, especially if they do not wish to transport their instrument to and from school," Knight said.
After fourth grade, students would have the option of renting or purchasing the instrument for future use in the music program.
According to Knight, they are one-third of the way to their goal of collecting 51 instruments. Among the most highly sought instruments are trumpets, trombones, flutes and clarinets.
"We're looking for instruments that may be sitting in a closet, etc.," Knight added. "This program is of no cost to the school."
Those interested in donating a band instrument may easily do so by dropping it off inside Elk County Catholic's main office.