MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

September 17, 2013

Instruments filter in: Bond issue made the purchase possible

By Cathy Spaulding

Times Staff Writer

New drums for the Fort Gibson High School band cannot be beat — they have no heads.

“They’re just frames now, empty shells,” FGHS Band Director LaNell Spyres said about the drums. “We got about eight drums and we’re still waiting on the heads.”

Fort Gibson’s Royal Regiment band is gradually getting its new instruments, funded by a $5.48 million bond issue approved in March. The bond issue also funds new technology, a new science lab, roofing, buses, and football turf.

Spyres said she had hoped to get the band instruments by the start of school, or at least the start of football season. Fort Gibson played its first game Sept. 6 and had its home opener Sept. 13.

The district has received drum frames for the high school band and two sousaphones for the middle school, Spyres said. She said she had ordered 25 to 27 new instruments, costing a total of $65,000 to $70,000.

Many of the high school band’s 88 members own their instruments. The school provides drums and larger instruments, Spyres said. Such instruments can be expensive.

“Tubas are $4,000,” Spyres said. The high school band is getting two new concert tubas and two new sousaphones.

Some instruments will be handed down to the middle school after new instruments arrive, she said.

 Sophomore percussionist Jacob Martin said he looks forward to playing the new drums.

“You’ve got to be careful with these,” said Jacob, referring to the older drums.

Spyres said she had to order so many new instruments, she will not be able to get new band uniforms or instrument lockers for the middle school.

The school also has received other new items funded by the March bond issue. At the start of the school year, students received laptop computers as part of the district’s goal to have a computer for each student.

Work on new turf at the football stadium was finished by the first home game. Work is being done on stadium fences, said Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover.

“The students were excited about practicing on the new football field,” Spyres said, adding that the band now could practice each day in the stadium.

“Before, it was only two days, because the grass had to be mowed,” she said.

Glover said the school got its first bond funds in July.

He said some school buildings already are getting their new roofs.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogee phoenix.com.

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