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Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation Donates Euphonium to Middle School Band Program

Mrs. Bolder – Union Prep Academy at Indian Trail


INDIAN TRAIL, NC – Thanks to your donations, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation donated a brand new euphonium to students in the Union Prep Academy music program!

Union Prep Academy is a tuition-free public charter school located 16 miles southeast of Charlotte, NC.

The instruments requested are needed to expand the program without costing the school several thousand dollars.

“They are very expensive and have to be purchased at full price,” Mrs. Bolder explains. “These instruments are not offered as rental instruments by music companies. They are too expensive for parents to purchase, unlike beginning band instruments. It is up to the school to purchase them. [However,] our school is a new charter school entering it’s third year and funding is low.”

The large percussion and low wind instruments needed at Union Prep are the key to a full mature sounding symphonic band.

“You see, beginning bands use only the basic 5 or 6 basic instruments; flute, clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, and trombone (sometimes snare drum and bells)” she explains. “Most parents can afford to rent the beginning band instruments. However, intermediate and advanced bands have a more mature sound because of the large percussion and large low wind instruments that are incorporated. Composers write music for/increase the number of instruments in their songs for more advanced bands.

We want to build and have an outstanding competitive band program. But, we can’t attend MPA’s (statewide adjudicated or judged performances), and other music festivals without the low instruments that would give us the full symphonic band sound. The only large percussion and low wind instruments we have right now are a bass drum, one tuba, one euphonium, and on bass clarinet. To balance the band out we need at least two of each of the low instruments (including bari-sax, and tenor sax).”

Enrollment is definitely growing, however more than a third of the students come from low income households. This means that many of the instruments needed for their particular orchestration are simply not available. In spite of budget setbacks, the students are resilient and dedicated.

“My students are middle school band students who love playing their instruments!” Mrs. Bolder exclaims. “When they could have chosen to take other electives, they chose band. Some of them enjoy coming to school because of band. They listen intently because they love learning to play their instruments.

What I [also] love about my students is that they seem so happy all the time and are eager to learn! They come into the band room smiling in the morning when they drop off their instruments, smiling when they come to class, and smiling when they come to pick up their instruments in the afternoon so they can practice at home. I love it when they ask, ‘What’s our playing test song for this week?’ You’d think that they would hope I’d forget about the playing tests! My one bass clarinet player is so peppy and calls her instrument (owned by the school) her baby.”

Thanks to the generosity of Joe Bonamassa fans and music lovers like you, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation was able to donate a brand new euphonium to the symphonic band.

Every week, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation makes a donation to a school in need of music instruments, supplies, sheet music, and more! Your donation helps us to keep music in schools, while preserving blues heritage. If you would like to help us fund next week’s project, click here to make a donation! All donations are fully tax-deductible!

Thank you for keeping music education in schools!

Shawn Hagood for Keeping the Blues Alive

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