Students give intro to music

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By John Barnhart

    A group of Staunton River High School students, and three recent graduates, showed up at Moneta Elementary School recently in an effort to get students interested in musical instruments.


    The event was part of an after-school program paid for by a 21st Century Community Learning Grant.
    According to Kathryn Smith, the grant’s site coordinator at Moneta Elementary, this is the second year of a three-year grant and 90 children are enrolled. It provides a safe, constructive place for children to be when their parents’ work schedule prevents them from being home when the school bus would normally drop their children off.
    The program runs Monday through Thursday and includes academic tutoring, physical activities and a meal. There is a Fun Friday twice each month. Last week was one of the Fun Fridays and featured members of Staunton River’s marching band and three college students who are members of bands in their respective colleges. They brought their instruments, and a couple brought their uniforms.
    Michael Smith, a sophomore at Virginia Tech brought, his  clarinet.

 Kelley Richardson, a freshman at Tech, brought her bassoon. Shannon Richardson, from George Mason University, brought an oboe.
    They aren’t music majors. Smith and Kelly Richardson are engineering majors. Shannon Richardson is an English major. Kelly and Shannon, by the way, are twins.
    The high school students are all seniors. Hunter Frink plays saxophone and Joshua Maloney is percussionist. He plays anything you can hit and described how the brake drum from a car can be used as a percussion instrument. Bedford County Attorney Patrick Skelley, also a percussionist, once described the percussionist as the mad scientist of an orchestra.
    Cassidy Duncan plays baritone. This is a large, deep toned brass instrument. Anne Smith, Michael Smith’s little sister, brought a piccolo and Hallie Terry brought a flute.
    They were there because they know they will be leaving Staunton River’s band at the end of this school year. They wanted to help in the effort to grow future band members.
    “We want to make sure there is a good foundation for band,” Anne Smith said.
    Students, who are interested, will start learning a musical instrument in middle school. That’s next year for some of the elementary school students. The high school students and young adults advised the youth not to be put off by the cost of a musical instrument. The high school bands have some instruments they can loan to band members. It’s also possible to rent a musical instrument.
    The whole thing seemed to be a hit with the students.
    The presentation also gave the students a chance to try an instrument. They had a chance to toot the mouthpiece of a woodwind and try to get sound out of a trumpet or baritone. They also had a chance to hit percussion instruments.