Updated Sun, Jun 15, 2014 8:32 pm
The Trimble Local Marching Band recently received the gift of music in the form of a dozen instruments thanks in part to the effort of two sisters.
Jean Cunningham and Jan Hodson approached Trimble Marching Band Director Dennis Ullman earlier this year about the band’s need for instruments.
“We grew up in Glouster before our parents moved us to The Plains in 1966. We had been in the band at Trimble Local and it was a character-building experience for us, so we know the value that music and marching band can have in the life of children,” said Hodson.
Hodson and Cunningham spoke fondly of their time in the band at Trimble and the lasting memories it created for them.
Last summer, the two women read in The Messenger about the struggles the band was having in finding a director.
“The little band was ‘rescued’ by the current director, Dennis Ullman, who pulled them together in time to support the championship football team during its amazing season last fall,” said Hodson.
Ullman was brought in as the third director for the band in as many months. Prior to Ullman, a director had been hired and resigned about a month later.
The band now had a new director, but membership was low and instruments were needed to help recruit new members.
“We wanted to make sure those who want to play can,” said Hodson. “We suspected that the school probably owned few musical instruments with which to recruit young members. And many families cannot afford to rent, let alone buy a musical instrument for their children.”
“This is sad,” Cunningham remembered thinking, adding “A winning football team needs a winning band.”
After a meeting with Ullman in February, the sisters launched their effort to collect unused instruments to donate to the band.
“My sister and I were convinced that there were probably many people who had old instruments gathering dust in attics and basements, so we launched this effort,” said Hodson.
That effort, which the band has named “Loud and Proud,” has collected four trumpets, three trombones, three flutes and two clarinets to date and hopes to collect additional instruments in the coming months.
“This is the beginning, by no means are we finished,” said Hodson.
“These two ladies approached me and have been fantastic. They have been instrumental in helping the band,” said Ullman. “These instruments will give students the opportunity to try band as it is big financial investment to get started.”
Ullman noted that the donation of instruments may not be seen immediately, but it will be seen in the years to come.
“This will give those in fourth or fifth grade the chance to try an instrument and become part of the band in the coming years,” said Ullman.
“Jean and I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have music in their lives and it shouldn’t be dependent upon whether or not they can afford an instrument,” stated Hodson.
The band currently has 22 members, with less than a handful being high-school age. The marching band begins with sixth grade students who will be marching this fall as part of the band. The band is always willing to accept new members.
Band camp begins on Aug. 4. The group’s first appearance will be for family members on Aug. 8 at the football stadium. They are also planning to participate in parades and other events in the coming months.
“The band is often the only impression people will have of a community or a school,” said Ullman.
Ullman has spent the past few weeks putting the finishing touches on what will be the band’s halftime show for this football season. The show will be titled “XM Scan” and will touch every aspect of music, according to the director.
Instruments are still in need for use by the band — particularly the middle brass instruments such as french horn and baritone.
To donate an instrument or for additional information on the cause email Hodson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary donations should be made payable to Trimble Local School, with a memo stating it is for the band.
Those donations may be sent to Trimble Local Schools c/o Cindy Rhonemus, Treasurer, One Tomcat Drive, Glouster, Ohio 45732.
photo: Sarah Hawley/Athens Messenger