SHS marching band seeks instrument donations

Published 11:48 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The pounding pulse of a high school marching band creates a cadence for fans to rally around their favorite football team each Friday night and Wade Caudle is fighting to ensure those fanfares continue to swell.

Caudle, who has taught music for eight years and took the helm as band director at Straughn this year, hopes to battle tough economic conditions with instrument donations from the local community so that students can continue to march to their own beat.

“We have a lot of band students who cannot afford to purchase their own instruments,” he said. “I would say only one in 10 students in our beginner band class can actually afford to purchase a horn or make the payments for a horn of their own. Some of the other nine students may have a relative who has a horn to pass down to them.”

Caudle said the Straughn “Sound of Gold” Band currently has five instruments to provide to beginner students and several more are needed.

“When I handed those out we have several students left who needed instruments,” he said. “Several students have to share an instrument. It is just as frustrating for them as it is for me because they only get to play the instrument every other day in class.”

Caudle said he has received a excellent response from the community so far, with approximately five horns donated, and he would like to get at least 10 more instruments before next season.

“We will accept any horn in any condition,” he said. “We can take them and evaluate them. If they are playable, then we will pass them on to a child. If they are not in playing condition, then we will work to get them repaired. We may even take parts from one horn that cannot be repaired to repair another horn. I will do anything I can to get an instrument into the hands of a child.”

Caudle said music education provides one of the few opportunities to experience fine arts in the school system now can also help to develop a student’s critical thinking skills.

“There is no other activity that has used more of the brain at one time than playing an instrument,” he said. “It requires several different processes at one time. The students do not realize it at the time, but they are actually building brainpower and having fun at the same time. Students involved in band or choir typically have higher test scores and do better in math.”

Caudle said that he sees the band experience as an opportunity for students to sharpen their social skills and to learn a craft that can be carried on for a lifetime.

“We provide an outlet in school that, particularly in later grades, is an encouragement to remain in school,” he said. “I’ve had students that, if it had not been for band, they probably would have dropped out. Band gave them something to connect with and a group to become involved with.

“Say you graduate and go to Auburn,” he added. “Well you may know two people when you arrive at Auburn, but on day one of band camp you become part of a large group. Everyone accepts you as a fellow band student.”

For more information about providing an instrument donation to the Straughn “Sound of Gold” Band, call Wade Caudle at 334-222-4090.