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Berkley, Huntington Woods

September 25, 2013

Huntington Woods Men’s Club donates money to BHS band

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

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Huntington Woods Men’s Club President Brian Bell, left, presented a check for $3,500 to Berkley High School Band Director Alan Posner, middle, and Berkley Instrumental Boosters President Gordy Olivia during a BIB meeting this month. The money will be used to purchase a new vibraphone for the Berkley bands.

BERKLEY — Thanks to the Huntington Woods Men’s Club, the Berkley High School band will have a new instrument for students to play.

At this month’s Berkley Instrumental Boosters meeting, representatives from the men’s club presented BIB President Gordy Olivia and Band Director Alan Posner with a  $3,500 check to purchase a new vibraphone.

“It is wonderful to receive this money from the men’s club, as they have been a big supporter of us in the past,” Posner said. “They do a lot of support work for organizations in and around Huntington Woods, and do a lot in terms of community outreach, so it is great to have them helping to fund things for the groups like our band.”

Posner and Olivia are both members of the men’s club and said the club is always looking for groups and organizations to help.

Olivia, who has been a member of the club for 13 years, said band representatives made a formal presentation to the club asking for support to buy a new vibraphone.

“The club’s purpose is to provide financial support to the community, and they raise the money and distribute it to other places in the community upon request,” Olivia said. “The band made a formal presentation to the membership and brought the old vibraphone to the meeting to show exactly what it was and why it needed a replacement.”

The vibraphone is a mallet instrument that uses electricity to run a motor to get the vibrations. The BHS music program uses it in the jazz, concert and symphony bands.

Posner said the motor on the current vibraphone is broken, and the instrument was purchased several years ago as a used instrument. The new one will not be brand new, but it is a refurbished model that is in good condition, Olivia said.

The Berkley Instrumental Boosters is a support and fundraising group for the BHS music programs, Olivia said. The group does several fundraisers throughout the year, including restaurant nights, fruit and nut sales and Tag Days, where band members play outside local establishments to raise money.

“There are several members of the men’s club that have students in the band, and the BIB is very grateful for their efforts, as the support we receive from them is invaluable,” Olivia said. “It is tremendous how the community gets behind the music education in our district. The administration at the Berkley School District supports the music program, but there are just not enough funds to provide the best curriculum possible for our students.”

Extracurricular programs, such as music programs, are often the first to receive budget cuts in school districts. However, Posner said the musical programs benefit a large percentage of the student body, especially in Berkley, and are helpful beyond just learning an instrument.

“We reach a large percentage of the student population, as we have maybe 400 to 500 kids in music at BHS, which is about a third of the school,” Posner said. “It is very important for a lot of kids to express themselves artistically, whether they go into music or not, and they also learn about responsibility, leadership and cooperation, which they can take into their lives in the future.

“Sports teams make cuts, but music doesn’t make cuts. Everyone participates, and the marching band is the largest team at Berkley.”

Olivia added that music doesn’t just help students artistically, but also in other parts of their school curriculum.

“There is a direct correlation between music and the performance of students in all their subjects,” he said. “Data supports that band students have a higher grade-point average, and music is incorporated in so many facets of other educational programs. There is math, science, history, fine motor skills and culture involved in music programs.”

The BHS bands will be playing their next Tag Days Oct. 11-13 around Berkley.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.