GENTRY, Ark. (KNWA) – A Northwest Arkansas school needs your help supporting its band students.
Sixth-grader Lazaro Cardenas – Magana plays the euphonium at Gentry Middle School. “Well, it just looks really interesting and it kind of inspired me so I chose it,” Cardenas – Magana said.
Like most of his peers, it’s his first time being in band and learning from Ms. Hayley Evans. “She’s really positive, always optimistic about everything and I just really enjoy her company,” Cardenas – Magana said.
Last year Evans says less than two dozen kids enrolled in the band program. This year over 100 signed up causing some to be put on the waiting list. “Our biggest issue with kids is getting them an instrument,” Evans said.
Evans says about 80% of her students need to use school-owned instruments due to financial reasons but the school only has enough for half of them to share. “We have our own mouthpiece,” Cardenas – Magana said. “You don’t have to share germs with them.”
Evans says the money they get from the school budget goes towards supporting their high school marching band so they aren’t able to purchase new instruments – leaving Evans to ask the community to donate band instruments like clarinets and tubas, even ones that are broken. “Sometimes those are useful because I can steal parts off of those to avoid sending an instrument into the shops,” Evans said.
Evans says they’re working with what they have so that students like Cardenas-Magana can follow their passion for music. “My hope is that we’ll able to pave the way for any kid regardless of their financial need at home to have an instrument and join a band program.”
Evans says they are in need of instruments including clarinets, tubas, euphoniums, oboe, and french horns. Donations can be dropped off at the front office of Gentry High School.