By CONNIE and LYNN BAER
As its 99th school year begins, Grossmont High School has 1,700 students enrolled in its visual and performing arts programs, the largest number in the Grossmont Union High School District. The large number of students in so many wonderful programs like the Instrumental Music Program, make it difficult to fund them adequately. Unfortunately, visual and performing arts programs are underfunded in public education nationwide.
Since its beginning, the Instrumental Music Program has been an essential part of Grossmont High School. In 1921, the orchestra consisted of 17 students with the first band in 1930. Today, the historic 99-year-old program has become a program dependent on decades-old instruments. In a letter emailed to GHS alumni and retirees this summer, program director Ray Webb explained the need for financial support to purchase large instruments:
Large instruments form the foundation of a ‘sound pyramid’ that must always be at the core of our big beautiful ‘Grossmont Sound.’ We need your help to continue to create this legacy.
Large instruments are generally not student-owned due to their high cost. Not many families can spend $6,000 or more for an instrument. As a result, all of our large instruments are district-owned. Unfortunately, our large instruments are, for the most part, in severely distressed or unusable condition.
We are looking for financial support to fund large instruments:
We now have four tuba players! It’s great that our band is growing! These players all need replacement marching and concert tubas (two instruments each). With an average cost of $9,000 each for a quality tuba or a quality sousaphone, the cost to outfit our four tuba players with one each is $72,000.
This year, we will also have four baritone horn players. These students each need one working marching instrument and one concert instrument. Quality marching baritones can be purchased for only $2,300 each; quality concert baritones (aka euphoniums), on the other hand, cost $6,300.
We now have two baritone sax players. We are purchasing one replacement bari sax this summer at a cost of $5,600.
We now have two tenor sax players; the one working tenor sax we have has been deemed unrepairable by a professional woodwind repair technician. Quality tenor saxes cost $3,400 each.
Also, Tohbias Juniel, our percussion coach and the percussion coach of the SDSU Marching Aztecs, has submitted a lengthy need list for large percussion: concert timpani, chimes, and mallet instruments.
However, to solve our immediate problem, we can buy used instruments from private sellers for as low as 10% of their original cost. Already, I have purchased one instrument this summer for one-third of its value.
Also, this summer we have received over $7,000 in financial support from our alumni, retired staff, and the GHS Educational Foundation. I hope our community can help us build a larger fund that could be accessed for purchases from private sellers, managed and overseen by the GIMA (Grossmont Instrumental Music Association) treasurer. All donations are tax deductible.
To support the purchase of desperately needed instruments, please write a check payable to GIMA and mail to Raymond Webb, GHS, P.O. Box 1043, La Mesa, CA 91944. No donation is too small.
Also, if you know of someone with a quality musical instrument to donate or to sell in Southern California, please ask the donor to contact Ray directly. Share this column with your friends who value the positive impact of music upon students. Together we can help support a program that has given so many Foothillers and its community such pleasure over the past 98 years.
99th anniversary and Homecoming
ASB President Maya Zimmer shares that, “This year we have decided to go with a spy/special agent/detective theme, ‘Operation GHS.’ The storyline is based around the idea of a villain stealing Grossmont’s spirit. Throughout Homecoming week, the students participate in dress-up days, three days of different disguises, in hopes of finding clues as to who stole Grossmont’s spirit.
“Friday is an extreme blue and gold dress-up day to celebrate the return of our spirit and to show that the Foothillers have the best spirit in town.”
The Homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 20, is against Valley View High School at 7 p.m., and the Homecoming Dance is on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The GHS Museum will be open on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 4-6 p.m., with a campus tour at 5:30 p.m. During Homecoming on Friday, Sept. 20, the museum will be open from 4-7 p.m. and a campus tour will again be held at 5:30 p.m.
To discover more about Grossmont or to purchase our book documenting the history of the Instrumental Music Program, visit our website at foothillermuseum.com or visit the GHS Museum Wednesday, Sept. 4, from noon–3:30 p.m. or by appointment. Contact: 619-668-6140 or email email@example.com.
—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.