Visitors to Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn may notice handsome wood cabinets lining the main hallway, cabinets made possible in large part by a grant from the DuPage Community Foundation’s (DCF) Young People’s Music Initiative.
The grant, one of only six awarded, supports DCF’s conviction that young people who play music lead better, more rewarding lives and fits well with the goal of Hadley’s music program: to cultivate lifelong patrons of music through learning and performing on their instrument.
Last year, Hadley Band Director Jim DePalo (on behalf of all the Hadley instrumental music teachers) applied for and received the $25,000 grant in the hopes of funding new instrument storage lockers to replace the aging units that had been in place since the school was built in 1956.
Many students had to keep their instruments on open shelving; those assigned the aging lockers often found their materials slipping through the open backs; and finally, the old lockers were simply too small for the larger instruments.
Installed over the summer of 2013, the new lockers are beautiful, secure and spacious enough even for the trombones. The instrumental music programs have grown significantly in recent years, and there now enough lockers to meet these needs.
The teachers report that students are thrilled with these quality spaces which keep their instruments safe and secure. The grant was augmented by another $14,000 from district funds and a gift of $3,000 from the Music Education Foundation, a generous partner of the district’s music programs for many years.
The foundation invited Hadley to apply for a grant renewal and the school has submitted its request for another $25,000 to buy bassoons ($7,998 for two) and basses ($4,500 for three), fund repairs of existing instruments and buy technology for instruction and performance.
The grant would also pay for fees for guest musicians to work directly with and inspire students.
“All of us who teach music at Hadley are thrilled about this opportunity. If we receive this second grant, our instrumental, choral and general music students will benefit in so many ways,” said DePalo, adding, “we won’t have to borrow and share very expensive bassoons, our orchestra inventory will meet student instrument needs, and we’ll be better able to keep all our instruments in top shape.”