The music program at North Central High School received a $5,500 grant from the Grammy Foundation and Ford Motor Co. last week. North Central achieved Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise status with nine other schools across the country. Six of those schools received the Enterprise Award of $5,500.
“We were pretty surprised that we got the grant,” said Collins Loupe, instrumental music director at North Central, on Friday The grant check was presented at North Central’s full band concert on May 30. “The kids here play really well, but I never have enough money it seems.”
Loupe said North Central has many low-income students for whom purchasing an instrument is out of the question.
He’s hoping to spend the grant on a baritone saxophone and, if the budget will reach that far, 10 student guitars.
“It’s difficult to learn to play on an instrument that’s not working properly,” Loupe said.
Pamela Alexander, director of community development for the Ford Motor Co. Fund, was at North Central to present the check with David Sears, the executive education director of the Grammy Foundation.
Alexander said Ford picked the Grammy Foundation program as one of many philanthropic programs.
“We know that having a strong music program helps keep the graduation rates up,” Alexander said, adding that this year the Ford fund is focusing its philanthropic work on Tucson, Los Angeles and Spokane. “It just made sense for us to get involved here.”
Sears said the Grammy Foundation supports music education in schools and tries to inform students of the many careers available in the music industry.
“Everyone wants to be like Usher,” Sears said, “but there are many other music- and entertainment-related careers.”
To illustrate that point, the Grammy Foundation put on a career panel featuring Matt Gibson, general manager of Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena; Becca Watters, marketing manager of the arena; and Tina Morrison, executive director of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Recording Academy.
As part of the application process, North Central students had to submit a recording sample.
Loupe said the band recorded “The Cry of the Last Unicorn” by Rossano Galante.
“It was early on in the rehearsal cycle, but the students did a great job,” Loupe said.