I should be cutting back on activities and additional responsibilities during this busy time of year, but instead I have plunged into another commitment: last week I joined the board of the Northfield Fine Arts Booster Club.
I couldn’t really say no (although I did postpone the decision for months, due to a number of other commitments this fall) because one of the group’s projects is to collect new and used musical instruments and get them into the hands of kids who want to play. This is a cause close to my heart. If I’ve learned one thing from researching my great-grandfather’s career as a band director, it’s the importance of making instruments accessible to all, if you’re hoping to build and maintain a quality program. That’s step one, before you can begin to teach kids to play, and before they can begin experiencing all the amazing benefits of music education.
G. Oliver worked hard to procure enough instruments for his students in every town in which he directed a band; when he died in January 1946, he was in the middle of an effort to convince the school board to purchase more instruments for the band he had organized at Red Lake High School.
The Northfield Fine Arts Booster Club formed in 2010 and is just now launching the instrument donation program, “Instruments for All,” which is modeled after a similar program in Apple Valley (see this September 2010 Star Tribune article). The Northfield Area Foundation is providing a $5,000 matching grant for the program, which is great news. The big push for donations won’t begin until after the holidays, but we already are accepting instruments as well as lesson books and other supplies.
You can drop off band instruments at the Bridgewater Elementary School office, and orchestra instruments at the Northfield Middle School office. For more information, you can visit the group’s website or new Faeebook page.
If you’d like to make a financial contribution, you can mail a check to the Northfield Fine Arts Boosters, 1400 Division Street, Northfield MN 55057 (Please make checks out to “NFAB” and write “Instruments For All” in the memo line). Or, you can visit the NFAB site at GiveMN and donate online.
The Northfield Fine Arts Boosters Club isn’t just about supporting music; it aims to provide resources and promote community support for all the fine arts programs at Northfield High School, including speech, theater and visual arts. I’m thrilled to be part of an organization with such an important mission.