Selma Middle band wins $25,000 grant

Selma Middle School band director Paula Coyle works with fifth-grade tuba player Billy Garcia.
Selma Middle School band director Paula Coyle works with fifth-grade tuba player Billy Garcia. JOHNSTON COUNTY SCHOOLS

Selma Middle School has won $25,000 in new musical instruments through The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

The foundation helps small-budget schools by donating new instruments, often replacing some that are more than 30 years old.

“I am still very much in shock over this announcement,” said Paula Coyle, the Selma Middle band director. “I am overwhelmed and excited about the possibilities this grant will open up for my students.

“These students work hard for me, and they deserve these instruments. I can hardly wait to put them to use.”

Selma Middle applied for the money, and Principal John Bell said he was thankful the foundation said yes. “On behalf of our Selma Middle School community, I would like to thank The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation for their generous grant donation valued at $25,000 in band instruments and equipment,” he said. “This grant will enable our band program to continue to thrive and grow. Our students will now have the gift of music for years to come, and we are so very grateful and humbled by this opportunity.”

“Learning music in school is a way to engage kids and give them something that makes them better students and better people,” said Felice Mancini, president and chief executive of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. “They deserve every tool available to help them receive a quality education, and we want to insure that music is in that toolbox.”

Since the arrival of Coyle as band director, interest in the music program at Selma Middle School has grown. This year the band has 12 eighth-graders, 18 seventh-graders, 18 sixth-graders and 50 fifth-graders.

The $25,689 grant will purchase two alto saxophones, three trombones, three trumpets, three flutes, a double French horn, a concert baritone, two clarinets and a baritone saxophone.