ELEMENTARY SCHOOL students who can’t afford band instruments will have them provided by a local non-profit foundation starting this fall.
It’s one of the key points in the school board’s decision to continue band instruction in the district’s elementary schools.
Those instruments will be provided by the Dare to Dream Foundation, which was initially founded more than a decade ago to pay for elementary school band instruction after the district decided to chop the program to save money.
The district has since offered elementary band again and Dare to Dream now finances specific elementary band events.
Dare to Dream member George Clark said providing instruments to students will be done in situations where the student’s family cannot afford to do so.
“We would work closely with the music teachers,” said Clark. “No child who wants to play will do without.”
There had been worries elementary band might again be eliminated following the decision to move Grade 7 out of elementary schools as part of the move to convert Skeena Junior Secondary to a Grade 7-9 middle school.
The move leaves just Grade 6 as the one grade in elementary schools were band is taught.
School district chair Art Erasmus says there’s no question band will continue.
“I can tell you that band will be offered again,” said Erasmus about programs at Suwilaawks, Uplands, Ecole Mountainview, Cassie Hall and Thornhill Elementary.
Unlike more senior grades, elementary grade level students in one class aren’t normally split off to go to different activities.
But in this case, Grade 6 students not taking band will have instruction in another field by another teacher, said Erasmus.
“Is that an extra cost? Yes. But there was an extra cost before,” said Erasmus of providing for non-band students when band students were practising.
Clark said Dare to Dream would, depending upon the situation, extend its offer of providing instruments to students moving from Grade 6 elementary band to the Skeena Middle School.
“There is a Terrace-Thornhill band parents association for beyond elementary and I think we would be willing to work with them,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone would want to see a situation where a student wouldn’t be able to have an instrument where there’s a need.”