- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The Maplewood Middle School band received a gift that was just in the nick of time when Tipitina’s Foundation delivered two new tubas, worth more than $7,000, earlier this month.

The band, made up of about 90 seventh- and eighth-graders, was set to play in district festival March 7, so the donation of the tubas is like “icing on top of the cake,” said band director Mickey Smith.

“It has been an absolute heaven-sent because the instruments we had before were by no means up to par,” Smith said. “And that’s because the expense of a tuba is pretty high. So for them to be able to donate that, it freed us up to be able to do some other things and make some other investments.”

He said the tubas were the band’s greatest need at this point in time mainly because of the instruments’ expense. The band’s sound is also based around the tuba.

“As we try to build the sounds, you have to have that low end just like the foundation of a house,” Smith said. “Without the foundation, the entire structure is not happening. Musically, it’s the same thing.”

Tipitina’s Foundation began in 2003 as a charitable association supporting music education in New Orleans, said Jacob Garcia, youth programs manager. Each year the foundation has an “Instruments A’Coming” application where band directors can apply and put together a wish list of instruments they need.

This year’s donation in Lake Charles was made in part with help from local donors and organizations, including the Isle of Capri, he said.

The foundation has a presence in most of Louisiana’s major cities, and every year at least one program in each of those cities is awarded instruments, Garcia said.

“We want to preserve Louisiana’s musical culture, which our school bands are a major part of,” Garcia said.

Smith said that being a part of band at a young age helps students understand how they are a part of something other than themselves.

“I’d tell anybody that listens that music is not just enrichment,” Smith said. “I think it’s an essential element to education.”

The application period is open for next year’s Instruments A’Coming donation, Garcia said. It ends April 15.


Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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