Band director Doug Brown and his students at William Campbell Combined School in Naruna, Va., received the “Ultimate Music Room Makeover,” thanks to an essay contest sponsored by In Tune Monthly magazine and MENC: The National Association for Music Education.
“It was amazing; I never really believed it was true until the prizes started coming in,” Brown says.
Brown submitted an essay about how outsourcing had negatively impacted the former factory community and left many local families struggling. He also included some writing from students about what winning the contest would mean to them.
“The kids already feel a sense of accomplishment on winning the essay,” Brown says. “It changes the way they play because they have a lot more confidence. We also have more quality instruments in the band room, so it helps the overall sound, and it gives a sense of accomplishment and sense of worth for the band program.”
The “Pride of the Southside” band received $40,000 in musical instruments, software, recording equipment and performance gear from contest sponsors Buffet Crampon, Notion, Pearl, Peavey, Pro-Mark, PRS, Roland, Shure, Woodwind & Brasswind, Yamaha and Zildjian.
“Getting those instruments in the students’ hands is like Christmas morning,” Brown says. “We all remember the first time we got our first really nice instrument, and when you get to give that to someone else, it’s just great.”