Bettendorf Park Band is celebrating its legacy of community members bringing music to the Quad-Cities for 50 years by working to ensure the music will continue for years to come.
In celebration of the band's golden anniversary, it, along with Davenport’s River Music Experience, has begun collecting used instruments for needy students interested in music.
“It started with us teaming up with RME for a program they have called Let's Band Together,” said Pat Wohlford, publicity director of Bettendorf Park Band. “It was all in honor of the 50th season. We brainstormed a number of ideas of what to do for that — how we could celebrate our anniversary and help the community, to say thank you and give back to the Quad-Cities. So, it’s been our goal to get 50 instruments donated so we could give them away as part of the season.”
Bettendorf Park Band calls their campaign Build a Band, and so far, the band has collected about half of that number, as it nears the end of its 49th year, Wohlford said.
“We’re looking for any good, used instruments, clarinets, percussion, saxophones, anything at all that people are no longer using that are still in decent condition,” Wohlford said. “We’re donating them to different students and people interested that can’t afford them, and programs that need them."
Music programs in the schools have faced cuts, she said, and this helps children who have the desire to play musical instruments but not the means to do so.
Wohlford has been with the band for 48 years — the second longest serving member, behind Steve Sinner, who has been with the band for 49 years.
“I love it," Wohlford said. "I love the history of being able to celebrate 50 years with the group and I love the idea of us doing this to help the community and keep things going for another 50 years. I’ve watched this grow and watched the audiences grow and embrace us, and the community embrace us, and it’s great to be a part of that.
Danelle Kvapil has been with the band for 20 years and is a driving force behind the collection.
“Music is such a huge part of all of our lives, and there has been so much research showing that music education is so beneficial to kids,” Kvapil said. “Every child deserves to find out if music is for them and what instrument speaks to them. It’s enormously rewarding to be a part of this and to think that this is helping the next generation of musicians in the Quad-Cities.”