Students strumming “Silent Night” will highlight the Christmas concert at Ruth King elementary, thanks to a donation by a band of area businesses.
Earlier this year Jeannie DeBoice, the vice principal and music teacher at the Langford school set out in search of guitars.
“My hope was to get six or eight, restring them, and then have a little club of kids who were interested in learning guitar beyond what we’re learning in music class,” DeBoice said.
The good fortune started when Graydin Lindsay, 11, talked to his dad, Troy Lindsay, about DeBoice’s wish to get some guitars. The pair share a love of music that’s in the blood. Troy plays and so did his father, Gary Lindsay, who was invited into the Vancouver Island Rock and Roll hall of fame. Gary played with the Victoria band Neon Lighted People.
“We’ve always got the music cranked at our house,” Troy said. “I just want to make sure all the kids have fun.”
With a healthy guitar collection at home, Troy jumped at the opportunity to provide music to his son’s classmates at Ruth King.
The ease of the project – completed within a couple hours and a few phone calls – shows the willingness of the community to keep kids strumming.
“It was probably the easiest thing ever, I called up Tom Lee and they put a package together with the guitar, case, extra strings and a tuner,” said the estimator with Ledcor Construction. “Then I just called some subcontractors that we work with all the time and said ‘hey, why don’t you buy five guitars?’”
H&L Demolition, Rada Resurfacing, Dalcon Construction, Houle Electric, West Bay Mechanical, Ramida Enterprises and Hold Fast Metal Tab amassed $5,000-worth of brand new instruments.
“Ledcor is always willing to do what we can to help the community and the kids,” Troy said.
Now 30 guitars hang from hooks in a cloak room off the music room. Enough for a full class, and to keep a school guitar club motivated.
“The kids love it, we do guitars every week,” DeBoice said. “They treat them with the utmost respect and I think mainly because they know people gave out of their own pockets to create this collection for our school.”
Austin Glover, 9, is among those who enjoy the instrument. “I like the sound of it,” he said reluctantly packing his away after a short jam session in the music room.
“I like playing guitar because you hear a lot of it on the radio … I like the way that they play,” added Mackenzie Scown, 10. “I find it really cool.”
It’s not surprising that Troy and DeBoice agree music is a critical component in education.
“It’s one of those things that make us human,” the music teacher said. “All the things we learn in school are valid and important and contribute to our ability to get a good job and earn a good wage. Music is one of those things that I think speaks to another part of the human soul and spirit. But also it incorporates reading, it includes math, it includes some science … but it really speaks to beauty and creativity.”
“I just think it makes the kids smarter,” Troy said. “It’s important these kids have these opportunities. We did.”