(photo by gwimages, via Adobe Stock)
Sadly, in 2021, the Aliquippa School District lost its band program after its membership dropped to only five members. Both band and choir were eliminated.
To be able to perform for football games, a makeshift “alumni band” was put together from alumni and the five diehard student musicians. This was not a foolproof plan though, as it is not always possible to get all of the musicians to attend away games. This can be expected as adults have other obligations they have to attend to.
The school district is now working to rebuild its music program, but funds are scarce. Several fundraising efforts have begun. There is a GoFundMe that is raising money for drums. There have also been other donations, including one of $1,500 from alum Jim Toth, husband of Reese Witherspoon.
The GoFundMe was organized by alumni Denise Drabeck. Denise was kind enough to contribute to this piece. She is fundraising for this cause because as she puts it, “I think a musical education is a critical component of any well-rounded education. Academically, learning music has an proven positive effect on the brain which enhances language and math skills.”
Denise stated, “Also, not every student is an athlete. And students who are artistically inclined deserve the same opportunities as those who are athletically inclined: to belong to a group which showcases their natural skills and abilities and promotes self-esteem and a feeling of belonging.”
Denise even mentioned how music has shaped her life, “Finally, musical training is a beneficial skill that you carry your whole life – well after high school graduation. I graduated in 1980 and I still play my flute to this day. It’s one of my greatest joys!”.
If you would like to help fund the Aliquippa Alumni Band, you can follow this link to the GoFundMe. To date, they have raised $7,816 raised of their $22,000 goal. They have even been able to make some purchases so far, 2 snares, 2 tenors, and 2 bass drums with carriers, cases, stadium stands, and covers. This is quite impressive and I hope they are able to reach their goal for this important cause. Please note that when the school’s band is operational again, the equipment will be donated to them.
Did you or your child play in the school band? How did it make you feel? What was the effect on your life?
Please keep an eye out for our follow-up article about a local business that is also raising money for the Aliquippa School District’s band program.