St. Amant High band moves forward without instruments after school flooding

St. Amant High band moves forward without instruments after school flooding

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The St. Amant High Band is starting off the school year without instruments and they are now looking for help to rebuild their program.

During the storm, the school flooded. The band room took on at least two feet of water with hundreds of instruments stuck inside.

"Lots of stuff was damaged, lots of stuff can be repaired," band director Craig Millet told his students during band period Monday.

Students returned to classes Monday for the first time since the storm. St. Amant High students are now temporarily attending Dutchtown High School while their school is cleaned and rebuilt.

Overall, fixing instruments damaged by the floodwaters could end up costing at least $100,000. At least $40,000 in sheet music also washed away.

"I stayed up many nights thinking and wondering how we're going to make this happen because I know you guys are passionate about the band. This is such a great source of pride for our community, for our school," said Joseph Nassar, another band director.

So far, none of the instruments have been retrieved. They may be accessed next week when the cleaning crews leave.

In the meantime, most students are without instruments and cannot rehearse, putting them several weeks behind as they prepare for football game performances.

Reflecting on the flooding in the band room, many students were distraught.

"It's like an arrow straight through the heart. That's where I sit and do homework. It's where we go and eat lunch. It's where we have practice," said Rebecca Badon, a senior who plays the alto saxophone.

Already, other bands are reaching out to lend a hand. Competing high schools are offering instruments. One college is loaning them drums.

"Even if we might not have a year like we expected it, we should at least make the most of it, have fun with it," said Paige Ellis, a senior who serves as drum major.

Still, despite all the questions about what the next months may have in store, band directors and members are optimistic.

"The best part of that story is going to be how it ends. Is that we went through all this adversity, we lost it all, and we rebuilt and we came out of this thing bigger and better and stronger than we started off," Nassar said.

"If the band can get together and get our work done, which I know we'll do, we always do, then I think we'll be in great shape to put on a great show, and that's really at the end of the day all we can ask for," Badon said.

The band hopes to have drumline performing at Friday's football game. They have set up a fundraising page on YouCaring for anyone who would like to help.

St. Amant High is not the only school to take on water during the storm. Students from four other schools are going to classes at other sites because of flood damage to their campuses. The school district hopes to have all the damaged schools repaired before the start of 2017.

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