Carson Middle School band deals with hardships, wins awards
This past weekend was a roller coaster ride for the Carson Middle School band, as its competition win was accompanied by hardships.
The 47-member intermediate band, comprised of sixth through eighth graders, traveled to Vallejo, California, Friday and Saturday to compete in the Music in the Parks Festival where it ended up with several awards.
The students took home first place in the middle school division, second place overall and was awarded the Espirit De Corps — an award given to ensembles who displays exemplary attitudes with positivity, behavior, integrity, character values and desire for excellence.
“I am overjoyed about the professionalism and preparation undertaken by these students and the support from the parents who chaperoned and also fostered this excellence in music,” said band director Nick Jacques. “The screams from them winning was deafening, they were so overjoyed.”
This was the first year the intermediate band attended an out of state competition and it beat out middle and high school bands from all over California and Nevada.
“I can’t say enough good things about these students, they earned it, they were quite happy,” Jacques said.
However, on Saturday night, hardship also struck the band. One family had decided to stay in California an extra night and their vehicle was broken into and two students’ instruments were stolen.
An alto saxophone and a trumpet were taken and Jacques said one student owned the instrument and the other rented it, with the total cost about $2,200 to replace.
“These thieves didn’t steal the instruments because they wanted to learn band,” Jacques said. “It is sad because there is a lot of sentimental value to them and because they are just sixth graders, it is a scary incident.”
Jacques said the one female student had just received her saxophone as a gift and the second family was just two months away from paying off the rented instrument. Both students play in the intermediate band, concert band and jazz band at CMS.
And to make matters worse, the theft came at the height of the band’s festival season — including one today and another on Friday.
“They were stolen at the worst possible time of year, we have lots of festivals coming up,” Jacques said.
To help the families, Jacques set up a GoFundMe account to help replace the instruments for the students.
“I started the account on the families’ behalf as a way to help them,” Jacques said. “They were in tears when I talked to them on the phone and I thought it was the least I could do.”
On the GoFundMe page, the goal amount is only set up for $1,500, with funds at nearly $1,100 by Tuesday afternoon. For Jacques, helping these students is almost a way to help give back to the community.
“The CMS band program brings so much joy to the community,” Jacques said. “The money will all go back to the community.”
To help donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-replace-stolen-instruments.