Eighth-grader a maestro of band fundraising

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Josh Anders, a member of the Mount Garfield Middle School jazz band, warms up before a fundraising concert Friday at Palisade High School. Anders also organized a second concert scheduled this coming Friday night at the high school.

Mount Garfield Middle School eighth-grader Josh Anders could hardly believe it when his band teacher mentioned he only receives $300 a year to spend on new instruments or music.

“You can only buy half a clarinet with that,” the 14-year-old thought to himself.

Anders plays trumpet, French horn, piano and percussion instruments for his school’s band. With news of budget cuts threatening several sectors of School District 51, Anders worried about cutbacks to music programs.

“I’ve had all these opportunities, but if they do the budget cuts, maybe my little sister won’t have the same opportunities,” he said.

Instead of fretting, Anders decided to do something about it. On his own accord, the young musician orchestrated concert fundraisers, coordinating with teachers, schools and the community to bring the cause to light.

The first of two concerts took place Friday night at Palisade High School, which also will host the second concert next Friday, May 20.

District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said funding for school music programs is not specifically on the chopping block and support is being cut overall for all of the district’s programs.

“Some would argue that funding for band and orchestra has always been low,” Kirtland said. “What a creative way for a student to take the initiative and want to try to help that.”

Palisade High School band director Jeff Mason said he, too, is impressed with Anders’ ambition.

“It’s one thing if it comes from district,” Mason said. “The best part is, he wants to do something to help out here. Josh has said he just wants to showcase what he loves.”

Anders said he looks forward to band practice each day and often practices on an instrument a couple more hours a day after school.

Music offers him a sanctuary and helps him with learning other subjects, Anders said.

“I like how you can inspire people and tell a story through band,” he said.


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