EDGEWATER, Colo. — The success of any band starts with the instruments. But sometimes those instruments are really hard to find.
“When I first got here, I didn’t even know what a tuba was,” seventh grader ZayDen Frerichs Walker said.
ZayDen is learning to play tuba in concert band class at Jefferson Junior/Senior High School in Edgewater.
“The fact that he never heard a tuba doesn’t surprise me at all, because it’s not in his world. But now it is,” Jefferson Music Director Nathan Prismon said.
ZayDen has a tuba to play thanks to the Bringing Music to Life instrument drive.
9NEWS partners with Bringing Music to Life, which asks people to donate their used instruments to benefit students in struggling music programs across Colorado. Prismon said his program relies on these donations.
“That’s how our program lives and breathes, and it grows or dies based on how many instruments we have given on any year,” Prismon said.
Last year, Bringing Music to Life gave instruments to 45 schools. It held a raffle for the only two tubas that were donated from around Colorado. Jefferson won the raffle.
“That’s right. Yeah, we got super lucky. They do that every year. There’s usually one tuba. Sometimes it’s two,” Prismon said.
Prismon’s success is now giving ZayDen a chance he might have never had.
“I just like the feeling of when I play everything right,” ZayDen said.
Jefferson Junior/Senior High School band
Prismon said tubas, bassoons, bass clarinets, piccolos and oboes are rarely donated.
“It has to do with price,” Prismon said. “Some instruments are more expensive than a flute, for example.”
Prismon said the need for those “endangered instruments” is great.
“In the concert band, the tuba’s really important ’cause it’s the foundation. It’s like your bass,” Prismon said.
ZayDen likes the sound of the tuba.
“I think it’s like the road that a car drives on for a band, ’cause it kinda keeps us all together, I think, like the glue,” ZayDen said.
The need isn’t just for the sound. It’s for changing lives.
“If you got an instrument like that sitting at home collecting dust, it’s a big ask for us to say, ‘Hey, would you consider donating it?’ But it’s really important,” Prismon said.
> To donate a used instrument or funds that Bringing Music to Life uses to repair and refurbish the instruments, visit their website.
“I think all students should be able to try something that they haven’t tried and see if they like it. If they don’t, then maybe another student can try and they do like it,” ZayDen said.