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School Notes: Grant Provides Musical Instruments in Windsor

  • Owen Roberge, left, and Josh Epstein, both of Windsor, Vt., look at a brand new trumpet while unboxing new instruments that the school recieved through a $10,000 grant on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at Windsor High School in Windsor. "I was so stoked," Epstein said. "It's something I've been waiting for." (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dylan DeSchamp, of Brownsville, Vt., and Madison Leduc, of Windsor, Vt., cover their ears after David Keeney, Windsor School's band director, rings a brand new gong on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at the school in Windsor. The school recieved a $10,000 grant through Music Drives Us, an organization dedicated to promoting music programming, to bring in new instruments. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Middle and high school band members at the Windsor School sign a banner to thank Music Drives Us, an organization dedicated to promoting music programming, for a $10,000 grant that provided the school with new instruments on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at the school in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas came early to the band program at the Windsor Schools on Friday, and Dylan Deschamp was already heralding one of the new arrivals.

By the time the other musicians from grades five to 12 had stampeded to the sleigh … uh, delivery truck ... to unload the $10,000 worth of instruments that the school’s Fine Arts Department had bought through a private grant, Deschamp, oblivious to the single-digit temperatures in his KISS T-shirt, was racing back up the ramp to the school’s rear entrance with a square, almost flat cardboard box.

“I have a gong!” the tall sophomore percussionist yelled to the heavens.

In addition to the gong, the program now has 21 new instruments — four clarinets, four flutes, three alto saxophones, three trombones, three trumpets, two piccolos, an alto flute and a drum set — to bolster the lending library of 15 instruments for some 90 aspiring musicians, including most of the fifth grade.

The library is for students who do not already own or rent their own instruments, and those who want try out instruments beyond their specialty. With this infusion, second-year band teacher David Keeney and his wife, Fine Arts Department chairwoman Christie Keeney, hope to open the door for more students to perform in public.

“Our school, in the past, has had competitive bands and choruses,” Christie Keeney said while waiting for the delivery truck from the Manchester Music Mill. “And we are hoping to build back to this capacity, in addition to having the numbers to perform at pep rallies, football games and special events.”

David Keeney added that the library’s current inventory of instruments was being used “to the maximum … and a lot of them needed work.”

Christie Keeney had been looking around for private funds for upkeep and repair of the existing inventory when she heard a radio ad for the Music Drives Us program, which Massachusetts auto-sales mogul Ernie Boch Jr. founded in 2006.

“When I found out that they don’t give money to fix instruments, they said, ‘Well, we’ll just give you new ones,’ ” Christie Keeney recalled. “So we were, like, ‘OK! We can work with that.’”

At the back of the school’s band room, ninth-grader Madison Leduc was unwrapping the parts of the first new clarinet she had ever held outside of a music store.

“I started with the clarinet my mom used to play, around fifth grade,” Leduc said. “The one I’ve been using is really worn out. It keeps breaking. Lately it’s been the mouthpiece.”

Leduc, who is considering a career teaching music and possibly performing, added that she’s been dabbling lately with other instruments, including trumpet, drums, baritone and tuba, “and now I’m looking forward to trying the flutes and the saxophone.”

The Keeneys, meanwhile, look forward to introducing instrumental music to Windsor’s lower grades.

“Our feeder schools in Weathersfield and Brownsville and Hartland already have music programs for fourth-graders,” David Keeney said. “We hope to start one for our fourth-graders eventually.”

To celebrate the new arrivals on Friday, David Keeney, who plays guitar and bass, warmed up the gong by tapping a padded mallet around its circumference. As the gong began humming, Keeney reared back and then struck the disk with a BONG! that resounded around the band room and drove many of the musicians to cover their ears. As the last waves of sound ebbed, Dylan Deschamp unplugged his ears and declared, “That thing is a-maz-ing!”

To learn more about applying for grants from the Music Drives Us program, visit musicdrivesus.org.

Continuing Education

The Bethel Revitalization Initiative is inviting experts and devotees in just about every subject imaginable to teach a “pop-up” course during the virtual Bethel University program in March 2018.

Courses in previous years (see www.vnews.com/Bethel-U-Offers-Broad-Spectrum-of-Course-8498348 ) have ranged from home auto repair and writing memoirs about food to running a dairy farm. Proposals for this year’s course catalog must be submitted by Jan. 14.

To learn more, and to find a form for proposing a course, visit betheluniversityvt.org.

S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

Five students from the Lyme School are matching wits with peers from around New Hampshire this afternoon and evening, during the state finals of the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.

The Lyme coders, under the guidance of teacher Meg Franks, are seventh-graders June Clark and Juliet Sinkus, and eighth-graders Dylan Wilcox, Jack Lange and Spencer May. Lyme is one of 16 schools to qualify for the finals, in which students compete online, using a cloud-based simulation platform featuring a virtual, 3D-animated robot. They made the grade for the state championship by completing 75 coding “missions” online.

Scholarship-Shape

The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program recently awarded a two-year fellowship worth $95,000 to Hanover resident Sofia Gomez.

Gomez, a senior majoring in international relations at Georgetown University, is one of 30 fellows chosen nationwide for fellowships, aimed at helping students planning to work in the foreign service. After graduation, she will spend the summer of 2018 working for a member of Congress on international issues and the summer of 2019 working overseas in a U.S. embassy. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs.

Collegiate Recognition

Hanover native Rebecca Zegans recently earned election to the Connecticut chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She is a senior majoring in philosophy and psychology at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Conn.

Wyatt Blanchard of Sharon earned a spot on the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s team of academic all-Americans, for his performance in the classroom during the fall 2017 semester at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York.

Blanchard, a 2014 graduate of The Sharon Academy, maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.5 out of a possible 4.0 while competing for Paul Smith’s co-ed team of woodsmen and -women. He is a senior majoring in forestry.

By Degrees

Sisters Jayci and Gia Giambrone, both of Bradford, Vt., received degrees from Emerson College, during the Boston school’s summer commencement on Aug. 30.

Jayci Giambrone, a 2013 graduate of Oxbow High School, earned a bachelor of science in communication studies. Gia Giambrone, who graduated from Oxbow in 2011, received a master of arts in integrated marketing communication.

High School Honors

Lebanon High School named senior Sabrina Lawrence as its student of the month for December, citing her creative and nurturing skills.

Teachers who nominated Lawrence for the award highlighted her efforts to “make nervous underclassmen feel at ease and cared for” while also playing in the school band, singing in the select chorus and acting in the Wet Paint Players drama club.

Music Men and Women

Hanover resident Raj Kane played alto saxophone with the Colby College ensemble that performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on Dec. 6. Kane is a junior, majoring in math at the private liberal-arts school in central Maine. The concert was part of the college’s fundraising campaign.

Thetford Academy instrumentalists and singers will perform the school’s annual holiday concert on Jan. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s Martha Jane Rich Theater. The recital, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed because of inclement weather.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3300. Education news and announcements also can be sent to schoolnotes@vnews.com.