EASLEY — The Easley High School Band program has landed a $15,000 grant from the School District of Pickens County for a new drum line.
There’s only one catch: It’s a matching grant and now the band needs to come up with $7,500. And fast.
“The drums are there, the grant’s approved — we just don’t have our part of it yet,” said Rick Langdale, director of the band. “We need to come with $7,500.”
Langdale applied for the Educational Performance Incentive Committee (EPIC) grant last year to pay for the entire drum-line which consists of 10 snare drums, 10 tenors, six bass drums as well as their carriers.
“They’re Yamaha, gently used — actually, they’re practically brand new,” said Langdale. “They were only used for one drum core season.”
Although the band has benefited from an increase in funding from the Board since the allotment cap per student was lifted county wide, Easley’s band is so large that it’s “just paying the bills,” said Langdale.
“For example we were using tubas — Sousaphones — that were my age. They were bought in the early ’80s,” he said. “So this year I was able to get two-year-old Sousaphones that were only used once in the Rose Parade.”
One Sousaphone costs around $7,800. Langdale was able to score them both for $11,200, he said.
“It’s a good deal, but again — that’s just two instruments — and they cost over eleven grand,” said Langdale. “In all, I’ve got a list of about $500,000 in things that if I had a blank check …”
The band does raise money throughout the year with various fundraisers such as their upcoming fruit sale, car washes and by hosting competitions but again, the money raised is just keeping them afloat and not accounting for their growth.
“More than 10 percent of our student body here at Easley is in the band,” Langdale said. “We have 125 in our marching band alone.”
In addition, the program supports three audition-based concert bands and two jazz bands.
“It’s only going to get bigger. At Gettys, we had 120 kids sign up for sixth grade band,” he said. “These are fantastic programs and we couldn’t be prouder of our student musicians — but we need a little help.”
Langdale asked those interested in making a donation to help the Easley Band raise the needed $7,500 for the drum line to call 864-397-3212 or to email him at RickLangdale@pickens.k12.sc.us.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.