Louisville’s Western Middle School Surprised With New Instruments

by Devin Katayama on October 26, 2011

An investment firm has donated new instruments to Western Middle School’s music program. Band students were presented the instruments in a surprise announcement Tuesday morning.

A new violin, trumpet and cello were among the ten instruments handed to 7th and 8th grade band students who then played them for the first time.

Fidelity Investments donated the instruments. The corporation has made donations in around 180 schools across the nation with over $2 million in investments, said branch manager Scott Adams. The instruments for Western Middle School cost around $23,000 and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation helped choose Western for the investment, Adams said.

Western Middle School is the district’s performing arts magnet middle school. Some students are able to buy or rent their own instruments; others aren’t so lucky, said Western’s band director Eric Allen (pictured). The 10 instruments donated Tuesday will be played by hundreds of students and the school couldn’t have been able to afford the types of instruments that were donated, he said.

“I think one of the things I said to them when I found out about this is, this puts us ten years ahead in our instrument inventory development. And it’s just a marvelous, marvelous gift and we’re really excited about it,” said Allen.

There are around 90 music programs in JCPS elementary schools, said Pam Fleitz, the music specialist for JCPS. She said music programs across the nation have been hit hard by cuts to education budgets.

“Each year the district purchases maybe 300, 400 instruments,” said Pam Fleitz. “However, as far as making all the needs of all the schools it’s very difficult. So grants like this, with the Mr. Holland’s Opus fund, just really helps us help the schools get quality instruments into the schools,” she said.

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