Local band programs receive donation from community group

HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - A local concert band made up of band directors and community members, decided to help out school band programs while they're still trying to bounce back following the flood.

It was a moment of triumph in the face of adversity and at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond.

The District IV Honor Band, made up of area middle and high school students held a concert. It's a sign of progress after several schools in the area were displaced by the historic flood.

Long time Denham Springs Jr. High School band director Ryan Beniot, said everything was either damaged or ruined.

"We lost tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, our entire music library, lots of student personal instruments, chairs, music stands, you name it," said Beniot.

And that's the common story for most bands in the area. Many are starting from scratch. One director said his 7th and 8th grade students haven't played since August.

"Any donation at this point will help get these programs back on their feet," said Lake Elementary band director Parrish Sonnier.

Jonathan Lyons, band director at South Side Jr. High School, recounts the devastating flood saying, "My school got over five and a half feet of water so basically my whole campus is...gone."

The Baton Rouge Concert Band heard the need and stepped in, raising enough money to give $300 checks to five middle schools; Denham Springs Jr. High School, South Side Jr. High School, Lake Elementary School, Galvez Middle School, and St. Amant Middle School.

A majority of the band programs lost their music library, which can cost up to $150 for each musical piece. Their hope is that this donation will give the programs a boost in their efforts to rebuild.

"It's hard for them to understand something that they're used to seeing and using every day, is not there anymore. But after the initial shock…the students are very resilient and they move forward and look forward with a positive attitude," said Jena Duplessis, Band Director Galvez Middle School.

Donations are still being accepted.

To make a contribution to the local band programs, contact the Baton Rouge Concert Band at http://brcb.org/

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