DMPS in need of instrument donations to keep students in band program

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools is in need of more musical instruments as more students have taken an interest in band and orchestra. However, the school isn’t asking for money donations.

Instead of checks, DMPS is asking the public to donate instruments to get in the hands of students as soon as possible. 

Every year DMPS purchases new instruments to replace any that were old or broken. But this year the district could not keep up with how much its band and orchestra programs have grown.

Now, the Des Moines Public Schools is in need of 300 more instruments, offering a tax credit to anyone who lends a helping hand. 

DMPS has applied for COVID-19 relief grants that can be used to purchase these musical tools.

However, Fine and Performing Arts Curriculum Coordinator for DMPS, Kelly Schnakenberg, said even if the district did receive the funding it could take weeks for the instruments to get to Des Moines. 

“We’re going to be eight to 10 weeks out on purchasing instruments because of supply pipeline issues and things like that. So, even if those things all come to fruition, we’re still at a point that kids don’t have instruments that are sitting in our classrooms today,” Schnakenberg said. 

Joseph Thering is a music teacher at Hiatt Middle School. Thering said as students recover from a year of online classes, they’ve been finding connectivity in this extracurricular activity. 

“It’s absolutely learning how to succeed with a group. That is our biggest thing right now we’re not trying to turn out extraordinary musicians. If it happens, we’d like that, but our big thing is teaching kids to collaborate for success,” Thering said. 

Donors will receive a receipt for tax credit purposes. You can drop off instruments at the Des Moines Education Association building, 206 Center Street, between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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