Hear St. Anthony's call for musical instruments
By Rich Archbold, P-T Columnist, 06/23/2012
Mike Lloyd, St. Anthony High School's music teacher, has revived the music program at the Long Beach school. With enrollment increasing in music classes, students need instruments but many cannot afford to buy or rent them.
Mike Lloyd, the "Music Man" at St. Anthony High School, would like nothing better than to blast out a marching band rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" this fall. But first he needs a little help in getting the marching band off the ground. Like instruments, new or used. And, like teaching the kids how to march and play at the same time, since St. Anthony's doesn't have a marching band.
It has been a dream of Mike's for six years to field a marching band at the small Catholic school on the eastern edge of Long Beach's downtown. It has been a struggle. Six years ago, the school lost its entire music program because of hard economic times. In fact, this historic Long Beach school itself was on the verge of closure when Gina Rushing Maguire came to the rescue as president in 2001.
When Maguire took over 11 years ago, St. Anthony's was down to 180 students. Through her leadership and a loyal alumni base, the decline was slowly reversed. St. Anthony's enrollment for this fall will be 490 students, and it will be the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' fastest-growing high school for the third year in a row.
The school also is experiencing an explosion in band enrollment for the fall. Five years ago Press-Telegram columnist Tom Hennessy, now retired, wrote about the program, then at zero students - a boost to "bring back the band." Enrollment built slowly, and last year St. Anthony's small jazz ensemble began performing in the community. "We went from no music at all to one music class, and now we offer three music classes (beginning and advanced instrumental and music appreciation) with a Drum Corps and Jazz Ensemble, all under the leadership of a talented young music teacher, Mike Lloyd," Maguire said.
But this year the school has a new challenge. The program has grown from 10 students to 55 kids confirmed who want to play an instrument and join the band this fall, Lloyd said. More are expected, he said. "Wow!" Maguire said. "The challenge is that the majority of these students do not have an instrument to play and many of the students cannot afford to rent or buy their own." And the school doesn't have a budget for this new, unexpected, but welcome, burst in interest in music.
That's where you, Press-Telegram readers, come in.
St. Anthony's is asking you to donate used instruments you no longer need.
"Community support would provide a huge boost at this critical time in our growth," Maguire said. "I think there are a lot of people who have a former musical instrument lying dormant in a closet." She said the school will accept any instruments, but the most needed are wind and percussion instruments such as trumpets, clarinets, trombones, saxophones, flutes, sousaphones and drums. Maguire laughingly said she tried to donate her old accordion, "but Mr. Lloyd had no interest in it!" Lloyd said the enrollment increase is "a very exciting development. I am elated and a little overwhelmed all at the same time."
In addition to needing instruments, the music program also needs new or used instrument storage lockers. If the school can start the marching band, students would need marching shoes and other accessories, he said.
"We are pushing very hard to get a marching band up and going this year," said Kelli Lloyd, Mike's wife and president of the St. Anthony Band Boosters. "Any help we get would be great." Because St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost (or misplaced) things, finding musical instruments should not be that hard.
I can almost hear Music Man Mike striking up the band and voices singing, "Oh, Lord, I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in."
Want to help?
What: If you are interested in donating an instrument, contact Gina Rushing Maguire, president of St. Anthony High School. Info: 562-435-4496, Ext. 1223.
Where: Donations should be sent to:
St. Anthony High School, Attention Mike Lloyd, 620 Olive Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802
Indicate that checks are for the school's music program.
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