The Fort Wayne Community Schools Foundation is asking people to “Join the Band” by contributing to the b Instrumental program and participate in a social media challenge.

The “I’m With the Band” social media challenge kicked off today at Sweetwater Sound with Sweetwater Founder and CEO Chuck Surack playing “Hot Cross Buns” on the saxophone and then challenging Memorial Park Middle School students to play their own version of the childhood nursery rhyme. The challenge will continue with others playing their version of the tune and posting videos on social media.

“Sweetwater is honored to support the b Instrumental program at FWCS,” Surack said. “Because we believe music education is vital to students’ achievement, we’re thrilled that we can do our part to make sure they have access to instruments. We encourage others in our community to ‘Join the Band’ to help foster the love of music in our youth and pave their path to success.”

The goal of the campaign is not only to raise awareness of the importance of music programs in school, but to raise money for the b Instrumental program and “Join the Band.” So far $1.7 million has been raised toward the $2 million goal for b Instrumental, which provides free musical instruments to FWCS seventh-graders. The students are allowed to keep the instruments through high school.

“Fort Wayne Community Schools has long supported fine arts in our schools, and b Instrumental allows hundreds of students the opportunity to pursue their musical interests,” FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “Our experience is showing that participating in music programs improves students’ attendance, grades and social interactions in school.”

The b Instrumental program began in 2016 at three FWCS middle schools and is now offered in all FWCS middle and high schools. The program provides musical instruments students who might not otherwise be able to afford them. More than 400 students participating in b Instrumental attend school at higher rates than non-participating students, and their rates of disciplinary consequences are lower than other students. Student musicians are also demonstrating higher grade point averages and standardized test scores.

“Through the support of the FWCS Foundation and generous community donors, b Instrumental is growing and benefitting more students each year,” Dr. Robinson said. “To fully fund the program, we need the entire community to ‘Join the Band’ and support music in our schools.”
To donate or learn more about b Instrumental, visit binstrumental.org.

The Waynedale News Staff
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