LAFTA founder seeks to boost Beginning Band

Got a gently used instrument gathering dust in your closet?

Terri Krebs wants to talk to you.

The founder of Lebanon Association for Theatre Arts and retired music teacher has launched a campaign called “76 Instruments” to collect that many musical instruments for use by beginning band students.

Her goal is to see music instruction return to Lebanon’s sixth-graders.

“We found that there is a need for instruments, not only in beginning band but also middle school and high school,” Krebs said.

She said the name for the effort was inspired by LAFTA’s summer production, “The Music Man,” the most well-known number from which is “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

Krebs noted that, after cutting beginning band programs in local schools, Supt. Rob Hess promised to try to get them back.

“He’s been true to his word,” she said. Sixth-grade band returned to Seven Oak Middle School and to Lacomb and Hamilton Creek schools this year, and Krebs said the expectation is that Pioneer and Cascade will also get band next year.

The problem is that instruments for sixth-graders are scarce, she said.

When the sixth-grade programs were cut, all the instruments went to Seven Oak and the high school, she said, adding that the district’s repair budget has been “lax for several years,” and that numerous instruments the district already possesses are in need of repair.

“We have a lot of instruments at schools that are not being used because they’re not being repaired. We’ve been looking to get instruments.”

That means new or used, in good condition, or getting them fixed, she said. Windsmith Music and Willamette Valley Music Repair have offered to help with the effort.

The two-fold effort also includes purchase of new instruments.

“We have people we’ve asked if they can sponsor, pay for an instrument,” Krebs said, adding that Hess has promised to match any donated funds, up to $10,000. “The goal would be to get new instruments and put money in the repair budget and not spend it all this year.”

“The Music Man” is the story of con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive Midwestern townsfolk in River City, promising to train the members of the new band. Instead of skipping town as he planned, Hill falls in love with Marian, the town librarian, and ends up staying in town, to face the music.

Krebs said she hopes to incorporate the instruments gathered and repaired by her effort into the musical, which will run July 24-28 at Lebanon High School Auditorium.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some instruments by then, and we can have Professor Hill’s band come from the back of the auditorium and place their instruments on the stage.”

For more information on the 76 Instruments program or LAFTA, visit lafta.webs.com.