For East Bank Middle School, there are only two weeks left of summer and the marching band putting in hard work as they gear up for a busy upcoming season of football games and parades.
But the bands face certain challenges aside from perfecting their scales and steps. East Bank Middle School Band Director, Brandon Layman said the bands have been trying to dig out of a financial rut for years but has seen a silver lining.
“It’s coming along, but it’s hard to keep building the program when I don’t have the resources I need to let the kids be successful. It’s hard to put an instrument in every kid’s hand when not everyone here can afford their own instrument and I’ve got so many that are in disrepair and I only get a fine amount of money every year to fix all the instruments and I get none to purchase new instruments,” said Layman.
Layman and his students result to fundraisers to raise money to fix instruments, purchase reeds, flip folders, valve oil, and anything else to keep the band in tip-top shape.
Alongside fundraisers, Layman has found himself using his own money to supply the band with what it needs, but it is becoming way too expensive to pay for all the repairs and items. He has found DonorsChoice.com to be very useful in allowing the community to help out the bands, and as of yesterday, one single donation of $1300 given to the bands to buy new bass drums they desperately needed.
Layman is grateful that the community recognizes the importance of extracurricular activities and what it does for the kids’ livelihood.
“It’s an escape for the kids like it’s not standardized testing, it’s not math, it’s not English. It’s things that they’ll actually pick up, learn, and build on their skills for those other classes and then take out into the real world,” said Layman.
And while the word is getting out and people are helping, the band room still possesses roughly 30 instruments that still need to be repaired. Repairs can vary from as little as $1 to $400.
If you are looking to help out the East Bank Middle School bands, visit donorschoice.com/mrlayman to make an online donation, adopt an instrument and have it repaired yourself, or drop off/mail checks that are addressed specifically to the band department in the memo. They do accept used instruments as well, as long as they are in good condition and working properly.