Local program collecting used band instruments started as senior project

Effort to collect used band instruments for middle school students started as a high school senior honors project four years ago, and it's still going strong. (WCHS/WVAH)

A new instrument for a school band can cost upwards of $4,000, which leaves many out of the program. One organization is collecting used instruments through a program that started as a senior project.

Julianna Rigot is a 7th grader at Huntington Middle School, and one of 250 students in the band program. She started playing the clarinet last year. "I thought it would be a good instrument for me to start playing because I've always been interested in the clarinet, and I finally had my chance to start playing," said Julianna.

That chance came because of a donated clarinet. The Foundation for the Tri-State Community donates used instruments to Cabell County middle schools. Huntington Middle School has received a saxophone, trumpets, trombones, drums and guitars. The program is called "Pep the Band Fund".

"Everyone should get the chance to try it", said Maggie Capehart, founder of the called "Pep the Band Fund". She started the effort four years ago as her senior honors project because she was pasionate about middle school students taking part in band.

"It's fun. You make friends in band. You develop skills. You develop discipline. You develop a crafsmanship," said Capehart.

"We have continued that project, repairing those instruments and donating them to Cabell County middle schools to encourage band participation at the middle school level,' said Kathryn Davis Lamp, Vice-President of Foundation for the Tri-State Community.

Huntington Middle School has 20 more band members than they did last year, and most of those will need an instrument if they want to participate.

"They get to make the first sound. There's a lot of laughing that happens in the beginning, and to watch them mature and watch them grow, because it builds a lot of confidence with them," said Julie Carper, Band Director at Huntington Middle School.

Organizers of the effort say an instrument can change the life of a student.

For more information on donating an instrument, call the Foundation for the Tri-State Community at 1-606-324-3888.

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