Grand County middle and high school band director Casey Lawson came to the festival with a unique request. The Grand County Middle School band program desperately needed a new set of timpani. The existing set included only two drums (a full set includes four). The existing timpani were likely purchased in the 1960s and, despite many rounds of repairs, could no longer hold a tune, rendering them essentially useless to the program.
According to festival coordinator Erin Groves, Lawson put off a request for funding for as long as possible, but the poor quality of the existing drums was becoming a major setback for her enthusiastic team of middle school percussion students.
“A new set of timpani would cost roughly $10,000, which was beyond the means of the Grand County School District,” Groves said. “Likewise, a request of this size was far beyond the average classroom funding award of $300 to $500 through the MMF’s Education Initiative Awards. However, the MMF board and staff let the need be known, and before long, a private foundation…came forward with the funds needed to help the festival purchase a new timpani set for the schools.”
In the spring of 2018, the festival purchased the new set of timpani for the Grand County High School band program. This allowed the relatively new high school set to move to the middle school to train up-and-coming percussion students.