Tara Sprickerhoff photo Euphonium and tuba players like Jay Julius (left) and Alyssa Burns will soon be seeing new instruments at Lake City Secondary, thanks to a $10,000 MusiCounts Band Aid grant.

Band program gets $10,000 grant for new instruments

Money will help buy new tuba, euphonium, tenor saxophone, some flutes, clarinets and percussion pieces

Lake City Secondary’s band program will see a boost this year, thanks to a Canada-wide music grant.

The MusiCounts Band Aid program is giving the high-school $10,000 for their music program, money that band teacher Laura Eilers said will be going towards purchasing new band instruments for the program.

“We have a growing program and we are really finding that with a lot of our bigger instruments like the tubas, euphoniums and baritone saxophones, we have no more to rent out and we have lots of keen kids wanting to play them,” she said.

While the school encourages students to rent or buy their own instruments from Long and McQuade, the bigger instruments are often too expensive, or price can be restrictive to some students.

“We like to have them on hand so that they can have the opportunity to play them and not worry about the expense,” said Eilers. “It’s a fun program that kids can change instruments if they want to, or they can play one instrument in one group and have another instrument they can play in another group.”

The money will go towards purchasing a new tuba, euphonium, tenor saxophone, some flutes, clarinets and some percussion equipment, to supplement what the school already has.

“It means we can have more kids involved in the program, playing an instrument that they want to play, and just have the ability to be more flexible so we don’t have to be continuously having to figure out different instruments for kids who don’t necessarily want to play.”

For Grade 11 student Jay Julius, who plays one of the school’s euphoniums, the prospect of new instruments is exciting.

“It’s great because, honestly, it is really useful to have instruments that actually work so I can do the best that I can and the best sound that I can too.”

Grade 12 student Alyssa Burns, who plays tuba and flute, said she thinks the instruments are a step towards a better future for the band program.

“I think for the musical people of the future, they are going to have a way better chance of getting more of a future in music, they will have way better opportunities.”

Both Julius and Burns say band is where they make friends.

“It’s like a family. It really is. If you are in it for one year or if you are in it for your entire life, you still have friends,” said Burns.

“I think it gives them a sense of belonging,” said Eilers, adding that the instruments will only help the program.

“It is only getting bigger, so we need the support of that to help us with the need.”

Eilers will be travelling with the school’s two tour bands to Whistler at the end of the month for the Whistler Con Brio Band festival, where the students will perform for an adjudicator and also workshop some of their pieces. They’ll also get the chance to play in a mass band with 2,000 other students.

Before that, the Band 8, Band 11/12, Junior Tour Band, the Senior Band and the Massed Band will be performing in their spring concert on Thursday, April 12 at the Williams Lake Campus. Admission is by donation and will start at 7 p.m.

Eilers is looking forward to the future of the school’s band program.

“It’s very exciting for our school and community, because our school has never received anything like this, so it is definitely big.”

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