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CCSD gets two grants and a donation to purchase $12,000 timpani drum set


HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County High School and Middle School band teacher Ken Chaney experiments on the new Yamaha 6300 series timpani drum set. Two grants and a donation made the $12,000 purchase possible.

If you’re planning to attend the Winter Band Concert at Crook County High School on Dec. 13, be sure to check out the sparkling brand new set of four Yamaha timpani drums.

That’s when the percussion instruments will make their debut.

These $12,000 copper bowl drums now belong to the school district, thanks to two grants and a donation.

“Thank you so much to the Prineville Music and Theater Boosters and Cynthia Jurgensen for their great work and help in making this happen,” said high school and middle school band teacher Ken Chaney. “Until now, we've only had three, and they are 50 years old and have trouble staying in tune and changing notes accurately.”

High school percussion players will use the timpani nearly every day, and middle schoolers will play them during concerts.

“Many of the timpani parts for songs we have played in the past were left out because the timpani we had were not able to meet the requirements of the parts,” Chaney said.

Timpani drums have been on the school district wish list for a long time, so when Crook County School District Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan sat down with newly hired district grant coordinator Cynthia Jurgensen last winter to decide what projects to fund, they were at the top of the list.

“Ken knew what he wanted, and we had a specific budget,” Jurgensen said. “I have a whole matrix of different grants offered throughout the state and nationally, because that’s what I do. I’m a grant writer.”

In February, she found a possibility with the Beaverton-based Reser Family Foundation and asked for the full $12,000 to purchase the timpani drums. The foundation makes transformational charitable contributions in the areas of the arts, education, environment and health that they believe will result in broad public benefit, primarily in Oregon.

“They said, ‘We will give you $6,000. You need to raise the other $6,000. You have until Dec. 1 to do so,’” Jurgensen said.

She suggested that Chaney secure “local” support, and he mentioned that he would go to the Prineville Music and Theater Boosters, a group that has funded supplies for the band program in the past.

Meanwhile, Jurgensen applied for a $5,000 grant from the Roundhouse Foundation, based in Sisters. This foundation supports creative projects and organizations that connect Sisters, Central Oregon and rural communities in the Northwest through art, environmental conservation, social services, community leadership and education.

The Roundhouse Foundation granted the funds, so all Jurgensen needed was $1,000.

“Heather Fraser stepped right in and managed that piece in a very expedient fashion,” Jurgensen said of the Prineville Music and Theater Boosters president.

“Ken made a request, and that was a good choice,” Fraser said, adding that the funds were earnings from the Follies performance. “A timpani is kind of like a drum that you can tune to give different sounds out of it, so you can get a high sound or an old sound. The old timpani that we had was getting to the point where it would no longer tune to the sound you wanted. It’s been something that they’ve been wanting for a long time.”

Chaney purchased the Yamaha 6300 series timpani drum set from Just Joe’s Music, in Bend. They were delivered to the high school late last week.

“We unboxed them on Friday and let the drummers salivate a little bit,” Chaney laughed. “I had to let them sit over the weekend so they could adjust to the temperature and the climate and the heads could start to stretch in.”

He tuned them earlier this week and will freshen them up before Jazz Band Monday morning, and then they’ll be ready to make music. The drummers in his band classes can’t wait to get their hands on the drumsticks.

“When we’ve gone to other places, we’ve had to leave the timpani part out of a lot of school songs because our timpani are not capable of doing it, so there’s no way to practice,” Chaney explained. “This way, we can play the parts right and play the music the way it’s written.”

CCHS is hosting the Tri-Valley League Band Showcase Jan. 18 and the Tri-Valley Band Festival April 13. Visiting students will now be able to use the timpani to play their music selections.

Chaney says he has about 74 band students at both schools, and about four will learn to use these drums. The seventh- and eighth-grade bands, the high school concert band, and the Jazz Band will all perform in the Dec. 13. Winter Concert.

You can bet that the timpani drums will have a special part.

“We're very excited and look forward to their debut,” Chaney said.

Concert time

CCHS and CCMS Winter Band Concert

7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13

CCHS Southwell Auditorium

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