Blair Otte Band

The Otte Blair Middle School eighth grade band shows off some of the new instruments, paid for by an instruments drive, which started in 2015. The instruments include marching drums, a baritone saxiphone, a bass clarinet, a bassoon and concert tuba.

The Otte Middle School Band Boosters delivered on its initiative to purchase and donate several new instruments for the school's band program.

The last instrument — a concert tuba — recently arrived.

The fundraising effort began in 2015 when then-Boosters co-chairs Cece Tonn and Jeene Hobbs asked band director Chiyo Trauernicht for a wish list of instruments.

“She came back to us with a list was new drums for the marching band, a bassoon, a baritone sax and a concert tuba,” Hobbs said.

A bass clarinet was later added to the list. The cost was nearly $20,000.

Tonn began writing letters to parents, community members and businesses. Before the first concert of the year, the band boosters presented their plan to the audience and asked for donations.

“For the past three years, we've gotten close to $1,000 just from those concerts,” Hobbs said. “It all adds up over time.”

Tonn and Hobbs expected the effort would take at least five years.

“We really did,” Hobbs said.

But then the group received approval for $5,000 in keno funds from the Blair City Council, which pushed them to move faster. They also received $2,500 from the Blair Area Community Foundation; $1,000 from Woodhouse Auto Family and Cargill each; and $500 from Evonik.

The Boosters also plan to purchase new flags for the marching band.

“The flag members themselves came to Mrs. Trauernicht and said that they wanted new flags and even offered to help with some of the fundraising. They were really eager, but we had enough money left over that we thought we could do that,” current Boosters Chair Michelle Stanley said.

Trauernicht is grateful for the group's effort to purchase the instruments.

Words cannot adequately explain how grateful I am to everyone who has been involved with our journey,” Trauernicht said. “First and foremost, it means that we live in a community where fine arts is supported and cherished for generations. It means that so many people in this community understand the importance of music education. They believe in it so strongly that they are willing to give their hard-earned money to students and future students.”

Stanley agreed.

“We're just really thankful that the community has been so supportive,” she said. “The band has been really successful. They do really well in competitions and parades. It makes us really happy that the community recognizes that and supports the kids.”

With the exception of the bassoon, the instruments replaced were 20 years old.

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