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SCC bands get a boost

For the first time in the history of the St. Croix Central middle and high school band program, St. Croix Central has a band booster association.

The group's first official meeting was Tuesday, Jan. 15.

"The main focus of the booster program will be to help support both the middle school and high school program," said high school band director Jason Koele.

Koele said most of the boosters' support will take the form of helping the band program raise the funds to purchase new instruments or fund any of the band's other needs, such as purchasing music.

"Right now... at the high school level, our biggest need is a new tuba and bari(tone) saxophone," Koele said, "and there are some percussive instruments that are really old and have been around since the high school was in Roberts."

Koele said most of the band's equipment is at least 20 years old. Replacing the dented tuba could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 Koele said. He said replacing the baritone saxophone could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The music the bands play usually costs about $80-$100 While expensive, Koele said these items are also essential to the function of the band.

"Without music, you can't really have a band," Koele said.

Koele and middle school band director Kim Hopkins are trying to increase the difficulty of the music the bands play. But as the difficulty of the music increases, so does the price.

Koele said supporting music is important because music affects every one of the other core subjects taught at St. Croix Central.

"Music is just another catalyst for them to reach out and use as a base for them to understand different concepts," Koele said.

For example, Koele said students learning about World War II could be taught music from that time period and learn about the composers who wrote the songs and their histories.

"We can then, as a music program, provide music that they play that goes along with those subjects," Koele said, "speaking about composers of that time period, why they were writing the music that they did, what they were trying to express, the language that they used and then how music shaped the people and the event."

Koele said the band boosters will support that kind of learning through their support of the band program. Right now, there are around 300 stuents in the middle and high school band programs.

In their first official meeting, the band boosters set up their executive committee, which consists of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and one parent representative for each grade from sixth through 12th.

Band boosters don't have to be parents, Koele said. He said anyone in the Hammond community can be involved with the band boosters.

"We're looking for a very community-based approach," Koele said.

Koele said anyone interested in becoming involved with the band boosters program could contact boosters president John Hueg at, boosters vice president Brett Queen at or Koele himself at 715-796-5383 ext. 108.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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