Carolyn Otto said some of the school's percussion instruments were actually purchased in the 1950s. As careful as the students are with the pricey pieces of equipment, accidents do happen, and the years take their toll.
That's why the Joan Mantle Music Trust has been such a boon to the school's instrumental music program.
The trust, started five years ago, has raised more than $120,000 through individual donations, corporate contributions and special events to purchase musical instruments for Rainbow District School Board's secondary schools.
All of the board's secondary schools have now benefitted from the fund, and the trust is now handing out dollars to the schools for a second time.
Sudbury Secondary received $10,000 from the trust five years ago, and is due to receive another $3,000 this school year. The school is planning to purchase some guitars and possibly a baritone saxophone with the money, Otto said.
Lasalle Secondary School and Chelmsford Valley District Composite School are also due to receive Joan Mantle funding in 2013-2014.
“Kids love shiny things, and that's the first excitement,” Otto said.
“The second excitement is when they actually begin to play it, and they find that everything works really well, and it sounds great, and they look good when they're holding it.”
Take Grade 12 Sudbury Secondary student Nathan Gamble, for example. He was over the moon about a new jazz guitar the school recently purchased.
“This is my favourite guitar in the world,” he said. “It's so beautiful ... I just saw it for the first time today, and I almost cried, because I love guitars ... It just sounds beautiful when I play.”
Gamble's classmate, Grade 12 Sudbury Secondary student Becca Kostuik, said she appreciates the support from the Joan Mantle trust, even though she hasn't received a new instrument herself: she plays an older alto saxophone.
“I'm really grateful for the money, even though it's not benefitting me right now personally,” she said. “It's benefitting all these schools and the entire band, and I think it's really awesome.”
Rainbow board director of education Norm Blaseg said the success of the fund is a tribute to all of the businesses and organizations who have donated to the trust, as well as those who work behind the scenes to make it come to life.
“We thank you for your support of music education, and more importantly, your contribution to the young people in our community,” he said.
The Joan Mantle Music Trust was created in honour of Joan Mantle, who worked for the Sudbury District School Board and its predecessor, the Rainbow District School Board, for 39 years.
Mantle started her career as a math and science teacher at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, but due to her background in music, was asked to establish a music program at the school.
Two years later, she started working as a music teacher at Lasalle Secondary School, a position she held for 15 years.
Mantle then started climbing the board's ranks, becoming vice-principal at Lasalle, principal at Lo-Ellen and Sudbury Secondary, and then superintendent of education with the Rainbow board.
The trust was launched in 2008, not long before her 2009 death.
Her daughter, Leslie Mantle — who happens to be the principal of Lively District Secondary School — said she has fond memories of the launch, where her mother was able to conduct the Lo-Ellen band.
She said Mantle would be “thrilled” to know all of the board's secondary schools have now received money to purchase new instruments.
“It's absolutely amazing that her legacy has lived on in music education in all of our schools,” Leslie said.
Upcoming Joan Mantle Music Trust benefit events:
-Oct. 25 - Jazzworks Concert Series, Christian Overton on trombone, 7 p.m. at St. Peter's United Church.
-Nov. 6 – G8 Guitar Summit, Salzberg Guitar Quartet, Canadian Guitar Quartet, Sudbury Guitar Orchestra, 7 p.m., Sheridan Auditorium, Sudbury Secondary School.
-April 5 – International Dinner and Silent Auction, 6 p.m., Older Adult Centre.