MILLINOCKET, Maine — If you own a string instrument and want to further the musical education and culture of a Granite Street School pupil, Abby Jordan would love to hear from you.
The school’s new elementary music teacher and recent University of Maine graduate is teaching violin, viola, cello and other string instruments to what at last count was 21 interested and neophyte pupils — a promising start, she said.
Though it has a powerhouse music program, with award-winning middle- and high school choir, show choir, band, and jazz band programs, it is the first time the Millinocket School Department has ever offered such music lessons to students, said Kris Vigue, a music teacher at Stearns High School who was nominated to be Maine’s Teacher of the Year in 2008 for her efforts.
“From one class today, I had eight kids asking me if they could play violin,” Jordan said earlier this week. “Now that they’ve seen others with the instrument, they all want one too.”
Therein lies a problem, Jordan said: The school lacks a stock of string instruments that students can use. Parents of participating children buy their children instruments or lease them through a Presque Isle music business for a nominal fee.
But some families cannot afford that, and having to tell a young boy or girl whose interest in music is piqued by the deep mellow bass murmur of a cello or the soaring pitch of a violin that they can’t play because there’s no instrument available can be heartbreaking, Jordan said.
“I have had some children come close to tears,” she said.
Jordan and Vigue said they hope that anyone who has an instrument and is willing to donate it would email Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her at Granite Street School, 191 Granite St., Millinocket, 04462.
Repairable instruments are welcome. Jordan said she would hate to see an unused or abandoned instrument go to waste. She hopes to stockpile a handful of all string instruments and component parts to allow pupils whose families cannot afford them an opportunity to learn to play or for other students to use in a pinch.
Donated instruments are a big part of the school department’s other bands, too, Vigue said.
Her music program is also forming a booster club that will help raise funds for instruments and for money to meet other needs, Jordan said. School officials hope to integrate string instrument players into the other music departments and extracurricular activities and school events.