"Band-Aid": Local Eighth Grader Organizes Benefit Concerts

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) - As budget cuts continue to silence school music programs across the country, one Grand Valley resident is taking action to make sure that's never the case here. And did we mention he's only in 8th grade?

To say Josh Anders likes music would be an understatement.

"I can play the piano, trumpet, and french horn and I can also play percussion," said Anders, an 8th grader at Mt. Garfield Middle School.

A member of both the concert band and jazz band, he spends a lot of time in the band room.

"A lot of great people that really inspired people had some kind of band background," said Anders. "It's just fun and you can do a lot of stuff with it."

And it was in the band room where he heard something that left him feeling flat. Because of declining revenues, the district could only give his teacher $300 for the year to buy new instruments and music.

"With that much money you can buy about half a clarinet or about ten drumsticks," said Anders. "I've been thinking about that for a while and then I just decided that I can do one last thing before I leave eighth grade to really make my mark."

So he talked to his friends in the jazz band about doing two benefit concerts to raise money not only for their school's band program, but all the middle school band programs in the district.

With them on board, he then went to Palisade High School, got their jazz band to sign on, and secured their auditorium -- all while leaving one key person in the dark.

"I made flyers and gave them to my jazz band without Mr. Davis knowing," said Anders.

Wanting to surprise his teacher Scott Davis, he made everyone keep the show under wraps until the day before the first performance.

"Stunning, I guess is the word," said Davis. "It was really surprising."

Davis says he could not believe that a group of 8th graders would take that kind of initiative and pull something like this off -- and he couldn't be more touched that they did.

"This is just another level of them," said Davis. "Josh saw a need and that's where it started. It came from the heart and it was a passionate thing."

At their first show last week, the students managed to rake in just over $700. They want to raise the bar higher for their second show on Friday.

"I'm hoping to get $2,000 so we can almost match what they get from the district," said Anders.

But whatever they raise, Davis says they will have made a profound impact.


"I was so proud," said Davis.

The concert will take place Friday, May 20 starting at 7:00pm in the Palisade High School Auditorium. To get into the show you have to make a donation -- any amount will be accepted.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Palisade High School band and the Red Cross. The remaining money will be split evenly among District 51 middle school band progams.

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