East Middle School students were surprised recently with a substantial fine arts donation that was coordinated by Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and funded by the Country Music Association Foundation.
The donation was revealed at a student assembly put on by the CMA Foundation, and nonprofit Music Has Value organizations. In total, East Middle School received $41,945 for the purchase of new instruments and equipment for the band. EMS received two double French horns, one trumpet, a trombone, a clarinet, a flute, a wood block (large), one cabasa, a clave (20mm), Maple 7A drumsticks (12 pack), 20 practice pads, five tenor ukuleles, an African Talking drum, a crate style cajon, a bassoon, an alto saxophone, an oboe, a bass clarinet, a tuba (¾), a euphonium and a concert bass drum (32×18).
“It has been an amazing experience working through the State of the Arts survey process for the last two years,” said TCS Fine Arts Coordinator Atticus Hensley. “Tullahoma City Schools has learned a great deal about who we are and how well our system works for our arts students. Once our needs were clearly established, the Country Music Association Foundation was able to step in and partner with our school system to help meet some of the equipment needs. This gift goes far beyond the simple act of putting a single instrument into the hands of a single child. It creates elementary music environments where there is less need to share instruments. It creates vocal music classrooms that are more adequately equipped to meet the needs of their ensembles. It frees up funds to be used to repair older instruments, purchase new music, and improve the experience of all of the music students in our district.”
On top of the instrument reveal, students were also surprised with a short three-song performance by up-and-coming country singer Tiera Kennedy. Ahead of the donation reveal, Kennedy also met with four EMS students – Brandon Jackson, Gabriella Locklear, Spencer Odette, and Leah Reeves – where she answered questions and found out how much music means to them.
“Monday was an incredibly special day for East Middle School and Tullahoma fine arts as a whole,” said TCS Director of Schools Dr. Catherine Stephens. “Tullahoma has always been known for its strong support of fine arts, and donations like these help strengthen our programs. I cannot begin to thank Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and CMA Foundation for these instruments. I also want to thank the CMA Foundation, Music Has Value, and Tiera Kennedy for making this a truly memorable day for our East Middle School students.”
Top photo provided: From left: TCS Fine Arts Coordinator Atticus Hensley, Tiera Kennedy, TCS Director of Schools Dr. Catherine Stephens, and CMA Impact Director Franklin Willis unveiled the new instruments to students