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BACK TO SCHOOL: Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Donates Instruments to Harshman

Music made by students at Harshman Middle School will sound a bit sweeter this school year, thanks to a donation from Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a nationally-renowned non-profit dedicated to the future of music and arts education.

The donation includes an impressive array of musical instruments and accessories, ranging from marimbas to clarinet reeds.

“In alignment with our district’s goal of expanding and promoting instrumental music to our middle schoolers, the Opus Foundation grant helps us guarantee that every child at Harshman Middle School has access to learn an instrument and thrive,” Principal Amy Moore said. “The new additional instruments will provide our band with a stronger and more balanced sound, allowing us to perform more complex pieces.”

This donation was brought to Harshman through Daniel Dorsett, the school’s band director who applied for the grant as a way to supplement and increase quality musical experiences for his student.

These additions will significantly enhance the musical opportunities available to students at Harshman Middle School, particularly in brass and percussion. However, the significance of this donation extends beyond the instruments themselves, said Traci Prescott, the district’s fine arts coordinator.

For many students, the cost of purchasing instruments and accessories like reeds can be prohibitive. With the foundation’s support, students will have access to high-quality instruments and essential accessories without financial burden, opening doors to explore and develop their musical talents freely, she said.

“Having these instruments will offer more opportunities for our Harshman Middle school students to play brass and percussion instruments,” Prescott said. “Tubas and percussion instruments are very expensive so having Mr. Holland’s Opus provide these instruments is truly a gift that will have a huge impact. 

“The clarinet and saxophone reeds the foundation is providing will allow our students to have new reeds for free. That is always the downfall when students choose to play clarinet and saxophone – those instruments require constant purchase of reeds, and it can get very expensive for some students and their families to provide the reeds.”

This donation comes at a pivotal moment for IPS, as the district undergoes transformative changes through the Rebuilding Stronger plan. With a focus on providing comprehensive educational opportunities, the plan ensures that every student has access to music classes and instrumental learning options.

From elementary school art and music to middle school band and orchestra programs, the district is committed to fostering a well-rounded education for all students.

The gift from The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation follows another significant contribution to IPS’s musical endeavors. In February, Babyface, the Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer, surprised students at Carl Wilde School 79 with a donation of instruments, furthering the district’s mission to expand music programs.