WALLA WALLA -- The Walla Walla Valley Bands will be playing a happier tune with the receipt of a $51,000 grant from the Sherwood Trust to buy instruments and equipment.
The musical group has grown so much in recent years that it has been difficult to keep up with requests for instruments and access to equipment necessary to outfit a full concert band and two jazz ensembles.
"This really validates all of our hard work and efforts over the last 20 years," said Mike Howell, an original member dating back to 1989 and architect of the successful proposal.
"We've been working hard to be excellent stewards of community resources and the instruments and equipment this will purchase is going to provide the band with the means to continue to grow as an ensemble," said Director Ron McHenry.
A tuba, baritone saxophone, bass trombone and full assortment of percussion equipment -- including timpani and chimes -- have already been ordered and will be featured at a special peformance on Oct. 31.
While the Sherwood Trust grant is by far the largest received by the organization to date, many local grant-making organizations, individuals and businesses have combined to allow the group to already purchase more than $40,000 in instruments.
The Walla Walla Valley Bands began as the Walla Walla Community Band in 1989. In 2007, the organization began partnering with Walla Walla Community College to provide enhanced large-group playing opportunities for students in attendance there. Since then, student enrollment and community involvement has grown from 50 to more than 100 members participating annually. The Walla Walla Valley Bands include a 70-member concert band, 18-member select jazz ensemble and 23-member jazz band as well as several chamber groups.
For more information about the Walla Walla Valley Bands, contact McHenry at 509-301-3920 or visit its website at www.wwvalleybands.org.