Student musicians in Thurston County will soon be playing new and refurbished instruments donated Tuesday by Patrons of South Sound Cultural Arts and local Rotary clubs.
For the 13th year, POSSCA presented the instruments, valued at $9,000-$10,000, to music directors from local school districts. The program has provided more than 400 instruments to Thurston County students over the years, said Kim Dinsmore of the Rotary Club of Olympia.
“The district owns the instruments and loans them out for the duration of the student’s career,” said Alan Fuller, POSSCA board member.
This year’s donations included cellos, violas, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments. The instruments were grouped in the reception hall of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and were color-coded with curled ribbon for each district.
The donated instruments allow low-income students to participate in school music programs, Fuller said.
“A cello, if you get your own, is about $600 to $1,000,” said Andrew Landowski, band director for Tumwater’s Black Hills High School. “A flute is about $400.”
The annual Cool Jazz/Clean Water festival, hosted by South Sound Rotary clubs at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, raises money for the instrument program and also for clean-water projects in third-world countries. Patrick Beehler, festival chairman, said festival proceeds go 40 percent toward school instruments, 40 percent to clean water projects and 20 percent to a summit that brings together youth groups from throughout Thurston County.
Dan Lundberg, band director at Capital High School in Olympia, was eager to get Olympia School District’s share of the instruments. “My feeling is, whatever works for the kids” is the best instrument, he said. In the Olympia district, students start learning strings in fourth grade, and having quarter- and half-size violins makes it easier for them.
Lundberg said he thinks the most difficult instruments to learn are the trombone, because there are no set buttons or keys, and the flute, because the fingering is out of sight of the musician.