Tolland Middle School percussion students got quite the surprise as they were preparing for their October Pumpkin Festival Concert: two brand new timpani greeted them at rehearsal to complete the instrument set, courtesy of the Friends of Tolland Music.
"The moment that's burned into my memory is the glow on their faces and that smile," said music teacher and band director Heather Titus of her students seeing the instruments for the first time.
The middle school students had been playing on only two timpani for a number of years, and even before Titus began working at the school, she said.
A set of four timpani is usually required to perform most musical pieces at the middle school level, Titus said. She said she has been altering the music to accomodate the gap for Tolland concerts.
"The timpani is a foundation instrument, like the tuba," Titus added. She said that having a complete set will round out the band ensemble's sound.
Amy Begue, the head of the Friends of Tolland Music, said that the instrument is also essential to the development of percussion students.
"The students were at a disadvantage at festivals like Eastern Regionals," Begue said. Music students trying out for the events often played on a complete set of timpani for the first time at their actual audition.
Begue said that the instruments, which cost around $6,000, were purchased with the help of a grant from the Newman's Own Foundation.
The Friends of Tolland Music group is also fundraising continuously by creating and selling recordings of all the school district concerts.
"Thanks to the Friends of Tolland Music and what they have provided," Titus said.
To keep up with the volunteer group, visit the Friends of Tolland Music Facebook page.
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