Baylor music students aid high school struggling to come back after Harvey

Flood waters throughout Kingswood High School band hall were about five feet. Assistant Band Director Tyler Morrison stands next to the water line for reference. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Courtney Sosnowski | Reporter

Baylor University Music Educators Association students decided to aid a Houston area high school following the devastating flooding of Hurricane Harvey. Through “Project Sunshine,” a name chosen to combat all the rain and clouds Houston has recently received, the accosiation is collecting funds for music students at Kingwood High School.

“The music programs in any public schools in Texas are going to have probably the least amount of funding out of everything which is unfortunate,” said College Station senior Kelsey Kipp, the president of the group. “With a choir classroom … you have sheet music and your voice and it’s pretty easy to put that together. But whenever it comes to band and orchestra, you have instruments and like the biggest thing they lost in the flooding was instruments.”

Kingwood High School received 5 feet of water on its campus, and the water sat in the building for several days. As a result, the students have relocated about 30 minutes away to Summer Creek High School for the 2017-2018 school year.

Tyler Morrison, the assistant band director, said in a Facebook post that some instruments were taken to a repair shop and that a portion of the sheet music was saved. Evidently, the equipment left will still make marching season possible for the band this year.

Baylor University Music Educators Association has raised funds through a letter writing initiative. Baylor students can write a note to a Kingwood student, and when they do, they also donate $1. The organization will match the donations up to $500, and has also encouraged other organizations and faculty to contribute funds. The group wanted to write personal notes in order to show the camaraderie of the music community. Kipp said that for many students, band is their home away from home.

“Our hope here is to raise awareness and also to say, ‘We know you’re hurting, your program has been devastated and we care,’” Dr. Michele Henry, the accosiation’s faculty sponsor said.

Several Texas fine arts organizations have created a website to help Harvey victims get their programs running as soon as possible. Currently, 34 band programs in the Houston area have unfilled requests for instruments, equipment and music. This does not include schools that have already been helped.

“The expenses are really vast,” Henry said. “If you think about, particularly in instrumental music programs, the cost of individual instruments can be tens of thousands of dollars.”

Project Sunshine will continue accepting contributions through the end of this week.

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