ECISD Hosts Instrument Drive to Keep Music Alive

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The slumping economy means music opportunities could be dwindling for some students.

Now, the Ector County Independent School District is fighting back in order to keep music in kids' lives.

That first note hooks them, but the sound of them being able to open their own instrument is what really matters.

But a poor economy means fewer kids get to open a case and play an instrument.

"More and more students are coming in and not being able to purchase horns," OHS Band Director Bill Harden, said. "So we're doing what we can to find instruments. I'd just like to encourage people to bring those instruments out and get them out here."

During better times most students would buy or rent their own instrument but rising costs and unemployment is making that more difficult.

"Renting an instrument can be expensive. A saxophone can cost a family about $80 a month, a trumpet or trombone is about $50, and even though a violin is less expensive, even $40 a month is too much for some families in this economy," Harden said.

Now the district is hosting an instrument drive.

Just drop off your overlooked instrument and N-Tune will fix any problems free of charge.

And in no time a child will have a new friend.

This issue touches the Odessa High School's Orchestra Director on a personal level. She says a school provided viola changed her life.

"Because of playing a musical instrument I have traveled," Jan Mayfield said. "I have met wonderful people, I go play chamber music. It's a gift for life, that's why the teachers are teaching because it's a gift we can give our students for their whole life."

She now hopes more children will have the same opportunity.

"I see that moment when the instruments arrive," Mayfield said. "They are so excited, it's a lot like Christmas."

On top of helping kids and the school district, Good Samaritans can also get a tax break when they donate.

On Saturday, the district received about 10 instruments and they'll accept donations until the end of the year.