Mead and Coal Ridge middle schools last week received a surprise visit from Mead High School and Stapp Interstate Toyota with a bevvy of donated musical instrument accessories to celebrate Music In Our Schools Month.
Later this month, they also plan to deliver a set of 30 PBuzz instruments to Mead Elementary School. The lightweight, plastic instruments are designed for younger musicians as an introduction to brass instruments and the skill of buzzing into a mouthpiece.
“Music In Our Schools Month was created by the National Association for Music Education and is celebrated every March,” said Chad Lemons, director of bands at Mead High School. “It's an opportunity to celebrate the great things happening in music programs across the country and to advocate for the advancement of music education in our schools.”
The middle schools’ band programs received two percussion mallet bags filled with various sticks, mallets, beatters and brushes for their percussion instruments, he said.
The donations were dropped off Saturday morning, with time taken for photography sessions with band directors at both schools.
Megan Rubin, director of bands and band and jazz band teacher at Mead Middle School, received the donated drum sticks and percussion equipment Saturday morning, which sixth through eight grade students will have the opportunity to use when they return to school next week following spring break.
“I am beyond grateful to Mr. Lemons at Mead High School and Stapp Toyota. They provided incredibly thoughtful drumming supplies specific to the needs of my program,” she said. “This gift is not only much needed, but so considerate. I am in awe of their thoughtfulness and kindness.”
Between four and seven students at each grade level use percussion equipment regularly, according to Rubin, with more than 120 students drumming throughout the school year.
“Instruments can go pretty quickly in a band program,” she said. “We don't always have a ton of money and when something breaks we have to tape it back together. This is really nice because we can provide (students) with brand new high-quality instruments.”
Rubin said she hopes all 120 students will have the opportunity to drum with the new equipment.
“I’m very grateful that we live in an area that appreciates music classes, because I know that’s not the case everywhere and it makes you feel really good to be recognized,” she said.
The partnership with Stapp Interstate Toyota to fund the musical instruments took shape digitally over Twitter, when Lemons tweeted looking for a business or two to help support a music service project for the Mead area schools, he said.
“We put out an invite to any interested businesses and Stapp Interstate Toyota retweeted us encouraging other businesses to support our service project,” he said. “Before I knew it, Debbi Stapp messaged me and was looking to sponsor our project.”
The partnership between the Mead High School band and Stapp has existed since 2018, according to Erin Wuestenberg, digital marketing manager at Stapp Interstate Toyota.
Stapp donated $3,000 to purchase the equipment through it’s Stapp Inspires Initiative.
“Every year SVVSD is recognized as one of our Stapp Inspires Spotlight organizations,” Wuestenberg said. “We are honored to be in a position to help support and sponsor a number of different projects throughout the district.”
Stapp has been a part of the SVVSD’s Innovation Center's Mobile Lab, the scoreboard at Everly-Montgomery Field and also has sponsored individual school fundraising events in previous years, such as a 5k race/fun run, Rubin said.
“As a former band kid I have a special place in my heart for students who are a part of SVVSD's music program and am really excited for these students to start using their new instruments and equipment,” she said. “I'm proud to represent a company (that) actively looks for ways to give back and support the community.”
Lemons said, “Music in our schools is valuable to a well-rounded education. It builds skills and knowledge useful in other classes and outside the classrooms. Music teaches tenacity and perseverance. But most importantly, music education is important for music. For us to love, honor, and preserve music, we must care for it through the countless ways we consume music ourselves and the way we pass it along to the future generations.”