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Dover Post
  • Dover Downtown Rotary Club helps collect band instruments for local students

  • With the start of the new school year at William Henry Middle School, some fifth graders are joining the school band for the first time, but not all students can afford to do so.
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  • With the start of the new school year at William Henry Middle School, some fifth graders are joining the school band for the first time, but not all students can afford to do so.
    The Dover Downtown Rotary Club is running a band instrument drive to give less fortunate students at William Henry Middle School access to the benefits of playing in the school’s band, said Rotary Club President Tom Summers.
    “We thought it would be a really effective way to help kids locally that want to get involved in the music program,” Summers said. “We’re the Dover Downtown Rotary so we wanted to try to help our local school district.”
    Some families in the district simply can’t afford to purchase or rent an instrument for their child, said William Henry Middle School’s Band Director Richard Hooven. He pointed out that 66 percent of the student body utilizes the school’s free and reduced lunch program.
    “For some families, buying an instrument is a bit down the road on their priorities list,” Hooven said. “They’re more worried about trying to survive. We want to keep kids playing. We’re trying to give students a chance that wouldn’t have had one.”
    The Rotary Club approached Hooven, with the idea. Hooven ran a similar program at a previous school and jumped right on it. Originally Summers proposed that the Rotary Club buy instruments and donate them to the school, but Hooven and Summers later came up with a better idea, Hooven said.
    “We came up with the idea to see what was already out there,” he said. “The band program has been around for years and has been very large. I thought there have got to be a lot of instruments just sitting in people’s attics.”
    The benefits of getting students involved in music are multifaceted, said Hooven.
    “If we get more kids involved there will be benefits to the school,” he said. “Studies have shown that kids involved in music do better academically. It will also tech students discipline. They have to be good students and they have to be disciplined to be able to play an instrument. It’s a win-win as long as we can get some instruments.”
    The Rotary Club has put a call out for community members to bring in their unwanted band instruments and drop them off at the Dover Public Library. The program kicked off less than a week ago when Summers presented the first donated instrument, his own son’s trumpet, to Hooven and other members of the staff at William Henry. The program is officially set to end on Oct. 18, but the Rotary Club won’t turn down instruments that come in after that deadline, Summers said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Rotary Club is currently discussing with the Capital School District the possibility of offering tax write-offs to those who donate instruments, Summers said.
    “I’m excited about the opportunity to help out a group of local kids and to see the impact that it can have on those kids that didn’t have a chance to participate and now have the opportunity,” Summers said.
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