NILES, Mich. (WNDU) Music is more than a relaxing pastime. For students in Michiana, music is a learning experience that relies on committed teachers and support from the community.
The Niles High School Marching Band just received some much needed support from Martin's Super Markets in the form of a $1,000 "One School at a Time" grant.
“Band really is the school ambassador,” said Niles band director Joshua Doe. “It’s the most public and most visual group in the school.”
Doe has witnessed a lot of growth and improvement to the band.
“If you're having fun with the kids, then they're not afraid to make mistakes,” Doe explained. “When they make mistakes, we just correct them and move on. We don't make big deals about things.”
When he started five years ago, there were 220 band students enrolled in grades 6 through 12. Today that number is around 360.
Doe really connects with his students. Hannah Hollingsworth is in the Niles middle school band.
“He tells us a lot of stories about old band students,” said Hannah. “And what he used to do and all the instruments he used to play.”
Her brother, Ben Hollingsworth, said Doe’s lessons go beyond music.
“It's not just about the trombone,” said Ben. “It's also about the behavior that if you have the wrong behavior you're going down the wrong road.”
As the members grow, so do the fans. Anna Geminder is Ben and Hannah's great-grandmother.
She wrote the entry for the One School at a Time grant. She loves this band and knows that they could use the money.
“They furnish instruments for people who can't afford to buy their own instruments,” said Geminder. “There's always a need for music and uniforms. There's always instrument repair. There are so many things; people don't realize how much there are.”
“No matter where you're at, band programs are expensive,” admitted Doe. “We have so many needs. Our leadership does a great job of funding what they can, but then we make up for it, and things like this grant will help us cover things like uniforms, music.”
Under Doe’s supervision, the Niles High School Marching Band earned a 1st division rating at district marching festival and district concert festival for four years.
The Niles High School Concert Band earned a 1st division in state band festival for the first time in 25 years.
If you want to help your school with a specific need, you can apply for Martin's Super Markets' "One School at a Time" grant.
Just fill out an application online at michianaschools.com
The winning school gets $1,000 from Martin's Super Markets, and a new winner will be picked in October.