When Pine View Middle School puts on a concert, there’s a good chance that some of the instruments it’s using are on loan from other schools.
And, when students want to practice at home, they often have to take turns checking out the instruments.
In one way, it’s a good problem: More students are enrolling in the school’s music program.
In another, it’s not so good. Students don’t always have access to instruments, losing time they could use to improve their skills.
Amarilys Barbosa, who teaches band and chorus, and Sue Castellano, a devoted grandparent volunteer, are on a quest to drum up community support for the band.
There are different ways the community can help, they said.
One way would be for people who have instruments they are no longer using to donate them to the school’s band program.
People who took band or music lessons years ago may have instruments they no longer use, Barbosa said.
There are professional musicians, too, who may be able to part with some of the instruments they used when they were just starting out, she said.
Instruments of all types are welcome, the band director said. “They’ll certainly go to a good home.”
While happy to accept any donated instrument, the band’s greatest needs are for tubas and French horns.
During a recent concert at The Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, the school had to borrow a tuba from Wesley Chapel High School, she said. “There are eight tuba players, but only seven tubas.”
There’s a shortage of French horns, too. “My other shortage is French horns. We had to borrow three from other schools,” Barbosa said.
In some cases, the school has an instrument, but no case, so students can’t borrow those instruments.
Enrollment gains triggered the increased need for instruments.
The enrollment increases are a result of Pine View Middle’s effort to be designated as an IB Middle Years Programme.
“The very, very cool thing about this program is that now all of the so-called elective classes, they are now becoming core classes,” Barbosa said. “The idea is to expose them to a world-class education.”
Last year, her largest band was 45 students.
“This year, I’m double that,” she said.
There are 240 students enrolled in the music department, including beginning, intermediate and advanced band, and chorus.
And, the program will continue to grow.
“Within the next couple of years, they’re going to make a transition in which every single student is going to be required to take a performing arts class,” she said. “Currently, we only have three that we offer, either band, chorus or drama.”
Beyond meeting basic needs, Barbosa would like to give her band students a chance to learn additional instruments.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have the instruments to loan out to them,” she said.
Uniforms are going to become another issue, Barbosa said.
As the band continues to grow, it won’t have enough marching band uniforms — and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to find any that match because the current uniforms are several years old, she said.
As it is now, Castellano spends countless hours helping to keep the band looking sharp. She takes hems out and puts them in. She sews on new buttons, and so forth.
Besides asking for instruments, planning efforts are underway for “Night Under the Stars,” a fundraising event that will take place on March 12 at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center.
The event will feature musical performances by Pine View students, but also will include outside silent auctions.
Gift baskets — containing items that have been donated by family, friends and businesses — will be auctioned to help raise money to meet the band’s needs. And, tickets will be sold to the event, although the admission price has not yet been set.
While the shortage of instruments is challenging, both Castellano and Barbosa are excited about getting more students involved with music.
“You may have a lot of children that don’t have anything that they can call their own,” said Castellano, whose 13-year-old grandson, Micahel McBride, plays alto saxophone.
“Their parents can’t afford to put them in sports. But, they can come into the music department at the school, and they can learn an instrument,” Castellano added, noting band members can feel a sense of accomplishment that comes from being able to play an instrument.
Barbosa is passionate about the value of music.
“I think music is a vital, vital part of our culture and our community,” Barbosa said. “There’s a reason why it’s lasted through the ages. There’s a reason why it continues to grow and expand.
“Music is that universal language,” Barbosa said.
What: Traditions on The Green, a family event featuring pancakes with Santa, children’s activities and concerts on the green, including a performance by Pine View Middle School’s band.
Where: Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Land O’ Lakes.
When: 9 a.m. until noon on Dec. 12
Who: The public is welcome
How much: Admission is free
Want to help? If you have instruments you would like to donate or want to help Pine View Middle School’s band in other ways, contact Amarilys Barbosa at the school, (813) 794-4800.
Published December 9, 2015