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Beckley school band latest to benefit from grant

Register-Herald photo by Chris Jackson Members of Park Middle School marching band drum corps perform during the presentation of musical instruments from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
Register-Herald photo by Chris Jackson
Members of Park Middle School marching band drum corps perform during the presentation of musical instruments from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Park Middle School band students are blowing their own horns thanks to a $30,000 grant from VH1 that purchased instruments for the 42-member marching unit.

“My students are so excited,” said Park Band Director Erin Tucker. “We’ve been working with instruments from the 1940s, so to have a new instrument in their hands is an amazing opportunity.

“They are so excited to play and be part of the band now. They want to play, they want to march, they want to be involved in school activities.”
The band, complete with twirlers and flag corps, performed for the student body and a few members of the public Thursday.

Paul Cothran, VH1’s executive director of Save the Music Foundation, is on his third trip to West Virginia to formally deliver the good news to schools. This trip takes him to eight schools all over the Mountain State.

Cothran said the program is important because music is important for development.

“This was so much a part of the school day for so many years and then it started to be phased out, or seen as extracurricular,” he said. “Music really has an impact.”

Tucker said Cothran is right.

“Music does so much,” she said. “It boosts your math scores, your language arts scores. It teaches you to problem-solve on the spot.

“There’s just different things that music does for a student that some of these kids will never have anywhere else but in school,” Tucker said.

West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith said VH1 has now helped 51 schools in 40 counties purchase instruments since 2010 — a $1.53 million investment in music…

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