When a local middle schooler asked Clinton Salvation Army Lt. Stephanie Hartley to teach her how to play the trumpet, little did Hartley know that a dream of her own would be sparked.
The student, Amie Douglas — who attends the Salvation Army’s church services and started lessons with Hartley last January — now is signed up for band. The girl’s success also kicked off a dream for Hartley in the form of the creation of her own brass band, made up of others who wanted to get more involved and wanted to take lessons, said Salvation Army Lt. Justin Hartley.
Five kids and one adult member of the church have been spending 45 minutes each week with Stephanie and Justin learning to play brass instruments. The Salvation Army had an inventory of instruments for the band, Justin said, so they put them to good use. The trumpets and cornets are available to take home by contract, as a majority of the families may not have been able to afford the instruments — let alone music lessons.
The group has been together for about a month and will have its first performance at the church later this month.
“It’s a great way that we can give back to our community and help kids that maybe want to learn music, but otherwise may not have the opportunity to,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie has her degree in trumpet performance and having grown up in the Salvation Army church, participated in brass band programs. She loves teaching music, and sharing the gospel through music, and knew she could start a program here — even if it was from scratch. After Douglas, the program looked like it could be a reality.
“We would have (Douglas) perform on Sundays, a solo every other month or something. So then the other kids would see her perform,” Stephanie said, “and some of the other kids came up to me this summer and said ‘I want to play like her.’”
They signed up for lessons and were given an instrument.
“So they have their own instrument that they are borrowing from us,” Justin said, “but also learning a little bit of ownership and responsibility for taking care of the instruments and bringing it back and forth to the practices.”
Anyone is welcome to join, though borrowed instruments may be running low. Justin welcomed any musicians who may want to teach to reach out to the Salvation Army to help grow the opportunity.
“It’d be fun... to see our group grow and start to morph into something bigger,” Justin said.