MMSD spends federal COVID relief funds on new musical instruments

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MADISON, Wis. – Nearly $1.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds have been used to bring musical instruments to every elementary, middle and high school in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

At Vel Phillips Memorial High School, this is the first time since 1967 that students have received new instruments. $98,000 was allocated to the school to fill its music room with new clarinets, trombones, trumpets and more.

Memorial High School music teacher Ben Jaeger said the instruments were desperately needed in their curriculum.

“I remember being that kid,” Jaeger said. “I wanted to play on something that works and is brand new and shiny, it makes you want to play more and when you practice more you like the music more.”

Due to supply chain issues, the arrival process for instruments has been slowed down. Although the instruments have been arriving since May, Jaeger said he expects the full order of instruments to be delivered by summer.

Teachers were able to ask what types of instruments they needed in their classrooms. For Jaeger, he said it warmed his heart to see students playing new, functional instruments.

“It’s beautiful for musicians like me, I just started this year,” said student Samuel Quintella. “It’s so good because we can play more tracks and more music and it’s just better for everyone.”

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