Bring Back The Band: New Mission At Coalinga High

The band program at Coalinga High School was silenced a decade ago due to budget cuts. Now there is a{}renewed effort to strike up the band.{}

The only notes heard in the band room in the past ten years come from compact discs. First year band teacher Nicholas Perry is up to the challenge at Coalinga High. He has 238 students enrolled in band and only 40 musical instruments. "I get asked every day when are we gonna play instruments? When are we gonna play instruments? I almost feel like telling them{}I can't do anything."

Perry has promised his students that music lessons will begin later this month. The problem is there aren't enough working instruments to even field a pep band. "Some of these don't even have, some of these don't have the right valve. Like that one look at that. Not even the right valve. There's like three different valve caps for that."

Coalinga High Junior Madison Deverick wants to play the flute and no one is going to change her mind. "They kind of laugh. They think it's dorky. They always make fun of me for being in the marching band. I don't care."

Before these students start marching, Coalinga High is going to need instruments... new and used. "I want to appeal to parents,{}I want to appeal to the community,{}I want to appeal to anyone in the area, anyone in the Central Valley that is music oriented or just wants to give."

Perry says he will have to replace all percussion equipment because the stuff he has isn't meant for marching. The movie Drumline inspired Coalinga High Junior Ricky Sorto to lead the drum corps. "After{}I saw that movie it made my heart go, and{}I wanted to play the snare drum and captain."

Perry is fresh out of Fresno State. But his principal is confident he's a band builder. "We asked him some tough questions and gave him a pretty grim picture of what the situation was. He wasn't nervous at all. He was ready to take on the challenge, and he's been wonderful since he stepped on campus."

Right now Perry is wearing two hats. Band Director and fundraiser. He's hoping the community will respond. Perry has set lofty goals. He wants to put a pep band in the stands and a marching band on the field by next August.{}{}

If you have a band instrument to donate to Coalinga High or if you would like to make a donation here's the number to call during school hours: (559) 935-7520. You can also contact Perry at his e-mail address: