An after-school band program held in the Trail Alliance Church has reached beginner musicians of all ages living in the city and beyond since its grassroots start-up in 2013.
“We have a really good mix right now,” began Terry Moon, program administrator. “We have from ages 11 right up to 90. We average about 22 band members, split half-and-half between kids and adults.”
The program’s intrinsic value to the local arts scene is evident given how each municipality and regional area gave it a financial nod – to the tune of almost $17,000 – to keep the sweet music flowing for another year.
Money for new instruments and other program needs will come from allotments each community recommended through the Community Initiatives Program, funded annually by Columbia Basin Trust (Trust).
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The Trust program collectively totals $343,000 from Rossland to Trail and the Beaver Valley. Money from this grant stream, which is administered through the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, is critical in keeping many local causes afloat each year, like the after-school band.
Interestingly, with a band class introduced back into JL Crowe Secondary School a few years ago, the after-school band, which used to be mostly high school students, has embraced new members by evolving its repertoire.
“What we’ve done is added adults who want to learn to play, and that has just been fantastic,” said Moon. “And we’ve been investing in high-end equipment, like the timphani (kettledrum) and tuba, for example, which can cost from $3,000 to $6,000.”
Directing money from the Community Initiatives Program to buy new instruments has had a ripple effect throughout the region.
Showing that music knows no bounds, accomplished talent in the Rossland Light Opera, the SwingSationS big-band and the Smoke Eater Underwear Band have also benefited by Moon’s program, because the musicians can borrow high-end instruments they otherwise would not have access to.
“That’s where the difference has come in, we teach and train, but we also can now take those pieces of equipment and make them available for players to borrow,” said Moon.
“So the program has grown from just teaching, to building and supporting our communities.”
Aside from recommending $8,900 to the Trail Alliance Church for the band program, another 34 groups will benefit from Trail’s slice of funding which neared $117,000. City representatives have recommended the greatest portion, $25,000 to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) Health Foundation. Other apportionments include $8,000 to the Trail Historical Society, $7,300 to Scouts Canada/Camp Tweedsmuir, $5,000 to the West Kootenay Brain Injury Association and $3,600 to the Health Arts Society, which brings music and theatre performances to B.C. health care facilities.
The villages of Montrose, Fruitvale and Area A joined together to distribute $104,000 in community initiatives funding, with the largest of 28 apportionments, $31,750 being recommended for Champion Lakes Golf and Country Club. That is followed by $10,000 each to the Beaver Valley Lions Park Society and Beaver Valley Manor Society as well as $3,500 to Camp Tweedsmuir, $2,400 to the after school band program, and $2,000 for the Trail Youth Centre.
Of Rossland’s $51,635 allotment and 32 recommendations, almost $4,000 was directed to the Gold Fever Follies, $3,700 for the Rossland historical association, and $2,900 for the KBRH Health Foundation. Smaller disbursements included $715 to the Trail Alliance Church for the after school band.
Warfield recommended spreading its $35,000 grant allotment to 30 local causes, including $2,400 to the after school band program, $3,000 to the West Kootenay Brain Injury Association, and $4,000 to the Trail Youth Centre.
Finally, Area B recommended distributing $35,300 into 34 causes, including $5,000 for the Genelle Recreation Society, $2,500 to the KBRH Health Foundation, $2,400 for the after school band, and $2,000 to the Trail Gymnastics Club.