Houston High Schools Receive Musical Instruments

Three Houston high schools are the recipients of thousands of dollars worth of musical instruments. Dozens of drums, clarinets adn saxophones will replace old worn out intruments at the schools. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more.

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Members of the marching band at Madison High School don't participate in some higher level band competitions because their instruments aren't good enough. Band Director Samuel Jackson says they're receiving about $20,000 worth of instruments, which will make a huge difference in the music program.

"We've got so many kids who want to be in the band and, for whatever reasons, they can't exactly afford these kinds of instruments so I would really love the opportunity to give them that chance to be in band, to learn some other things and to experience and of course to compete at a much higher level. Now that we've got these things, that opportunity is now here and we can take advantage of it."

Madison High School students, along with kids at Phyllis Wheatley and Westbury High Schools, are benefitting from a nearly $60,000 donation of instruments from Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is this season's sponsor of the Houston Symphony. Symphony Executive Director Matthew VanBesien.

"Music is such a huge part of our lives as symphony employees and members. But music can be such a transformational thing for a young person, so we want to do our part to help, we wanted to be a part of facilitating getting the right tools in their hands."

Most of the instruments are bass, snare and tenor drums. The donation also includes clarinets, cymbals, saxophones, an oboe and a tuba. Houston Mayor Bill White says students should master the basics, but there's a whole lot more to life than just the basics.

"Every young person who's willing to devote some time to developing a lifetime skill is important. If they're willing to make the investment in practice -- and I guess Director Jackson these people you can tell they have been practicing, every band director knows that -- if they're willing to practice, then we are so proud of our young musicians in Houston and we ought to put some of our money where our mouth is."

Fidelity Investments will raise money over the next few months to provide instruments to additional schools in the Houston area. The Symphony will collect donations for school instruments at concerts throughout the season. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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