Washington High School’s 145-member band, “The Pride of Washington,” will soon have more to be proud of – new instruments.
The unanimous decision to purchase more than $250,000 worth of brass and drum instruments and sound equipment was made at the district school board’s monthly meeting earlier this month. The new equipment will replace some that had been in use since the 1980s.
The band’s manager, Stewart Alloway, said that not only would the band sound better with the new instruments, but the purchase would help reduce the cost of student attendance. He said Washington’s group program is one of the most affordable in the Gateway Athletic Conference, charging $300 while other schools charge nearly $1,000.
The $262,911 purchase will be made through Nottelmann Music Co. in St. Louis, which, while having the highest bid, also has a long relationship with the school, servicing its instruments for nearly 40, according to Alloway.
He said the bass offering, made by Boothe Music in Spanish Fork, Utah, was missing some instruments. Other companies that submitted bids were the Washington Music Center in Maryland, the St. Louis-based Palen Music Center and River City Music in Washington.
When Alloway first presented the request for the equipment to the board in November, he estimated that if purchased at retail, the instruments would have cost $400,000.
Alloway plans to trade some of the old instruments for cash and donate others to Band of Angels, a Kansas City nonprofit.
With proper care, Alloway said the lifespan of new instruments is around 25 to 30 years.