We caught up with two of our winning schools to find out how the instruments you helped us provide them have made a difference in their programs, and how they’re handling the new normal of education during Covid. 

The results were surprising even to us! Take a look:

Thomas Seaman, Director of Bands
East Duplin High School- Beulaville, NC

“Our school district split our student bodies in half. One half comes to school for a week and the other half comes the following week and they alternate weeks as we go. Families were also given the option to keep their children at home and work remotely. So on a daily basis, I am teaching a small group of students face to face while the rest are tuning in to class from home via Google Meets. It does become difficult trying to teach the ones who are at home but we are all doing the best we can. As you can imagine, everything is progressing slower than usual. 
Because I teach at two schools, the high school and one of our feeder schools, the new instruments are benefiting students at both schools. 
At the high school, the new instruments are being used by at least 10 students at the moment. More will be used during concert band season next semester. The two new alto saxophones and the baritone saxophone are all being used by students who did not have the instrument or whose instrument was in poor condition and they are unable to afford to get it repaired. Of course, all of the new percussion equipment is being used and our tuba player can have an instrument at home to practice on without having to bring it to school on the days he needs to be in class. 
As the new instruments get into the hands of students at the high school, their school-owned instruments trickle down to the middle schools. Due to the new instruments, the feeder school I teach at has gained percussion instruments they did not have, tubas they did not have, and several other instruments which will allow more beginners to learn to play an instrument. Basically, for almost every new instrument the high school band received, the middle school band received a hand-me-down instrument, most of which they had never had that instrument before. It has been a huge impact on our program and will yield greater rewards in the years to come.”

Pat Toben, Arts and Community Engagement Program Coordinator
Sioux City Schools- Sioux City, Iowa

“We are currently 100% in-person (classes) and have families that have opted for 100% virtual learning for the year. With that, we have several students learning from home that have checked out instruments from the district.

We are so grateful for the impact the  Manilow Music Project has had on our students and programs. Without the generosity of donors, our kids would not be able to meet our district mission of ‘Believe….Achieve….Succeed.’

We continue to work to find ways to get more instruments in our students’ hands so that they can have the opportunity to develop their understanding of culture through the arts.

With district FRL (students receiving free or reduced-price lunch due to financial challenges) averaging 65%, there is an incredible need for student access to district-owned instruments. By increasing our instrument inventory students will have quality instruments to practice and perform on thereby capturing their passion for music early enough to engage the next wave of musicians in Sioux City.  

With each high school student required to earn two fine arts credits for graduation, lack of access to instruments does drive some students to visual arts programs or another arts outlet when music may be a stronger interest. With elementary and middle school students admitting that they can’t join band or orchestra because their parents can’t afford an instrument is a huge ego blow. The rhetoric manifests as “band is stupid /orchestra is dumb”.

Our work to destigmatize the need to rent or borrow an instrument has been extremely successful. The students active in music programs in the SCCSD wear it like a badge of honor, similar to a letterman’s jacket or athletic uniform. The general funds available to purchase new instruments falls short, so private donations are needed to expedite student access and maintain student interest.

Access to instrumental music instruction should not be based on our students’ zip code. 

The generosity of  (The Manilow Music Project) has helped to fast-track a needed component to continued growth and success for our students through music education. Creating a life-long love of music starts with these kids and the staff at the SCCSD invests everything they have into making memorable experiences for their students. 

We are so grateful for the gift from the Manilow Music Project!”