Central Point donates the gift of music

CENTRAL POINT — After hearing tales of duct-taped sousaphones, dented brass and ragged woodwinds, community members have stepped up to donate 15 band instruments for Crater High School students.

Students appealed to the community in recent weeks, recounting tales of instrument malfunctions and "Frankenstein" instruments assembled from scavenged parts.

With budget cuts and limited funding for art and music programs in district schools, students who use school-owned instruments face equipment anywhere from 30 to 50 or more years old, many of which are in various states of disrepair.

The band students' hope was that community members might have formerly loved instruments languishing in closets and attics.

Crater band director Bryan Burkett said community response to the band's appeal was a pleasant surprise.

So far, community members have donated three alto saxophones, one tenor saxophone, three clarinets, a French horn, a flugelhorn, an Eb (E-flat) altonium, an accordion, a piccolo, a piano and two trombones.

In addition, two local foundations, the West Family Foundation and the Robert and Frances Chaney Family Foundation, offered a challenge grant of up to $20,000 to match any money gathered through fundraising events, donations and additional grants.

"We got several instruments, mostly a little bit older that were in people's closets for several years, but everything seems to work pretty well," Burkett said.

"What we got will really help with our students and with the middle-school program, getting kids started."

Baritone saxophone player Jazmine Stucker, a senior, said students were touched by the community's generosity.

"It was really neat to ask for help, then to see all the instruments come pouring in. It shows our community really does care," said the 17-year-old, noting that she hopes students can jump-start fundraising efforts after winter break.

"We're going to start asking for donations at concerts. After winter break, we'll do raffles and a benefit concert and some other stuff. It's a good opportunity to be able to get whatever we raise matched."

For more information or to donate, call Burkett at 541-494-6350 or e-mail him at bryan.burkett@district6.org.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.

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