VISTA — A generous donation has resurrected music and the potential of more programs and classes in the Vista Unified School District.
Last week, North Coast Church delivered between 500 and 600 instruments and amplifiers to Rancho Buena Vista High School. The instruments donated include 219 guitars, 109 ukuleles, 84 violins and about 30 amps, to name a few.
Rancho Buena Vista Director of Bands Erik Weirather said it was a shock to receive four U-Hauls filled with instruments, which will be spread throughout the district. According to Lisa Contreras, the district’s director of communications, another truckload was expected this week.
Also in the haul are Les Paul and Gibson guitars, and a total of seven “high-end guitars,” Contreras said, which the district may auction off to raise additional funds for its music programs. Les Paul and Gibson are widely considered the gold standard for guitars.
“It was absolutely a surprise,” Weirather said of the gifts. “When we saw the amount of instruments, it was unreal. I couldn’t believe it was that many.”
Weirather said the remaining instruments will be cleaned and assessed before being put into use. The influx of instruments comes at a critical time, where Vista Unified students have fewer music options and don’t begin learning about music until sixth grade.
Additionally, those donated instruments will be critical for students who cannot afford to purchase or rent their own, Weirather said. In the past, he said he would have to reach out to alumni and community groups to support those students in need.
“Now there are instruments we will have to check out to those students in need,” Weirather said. “All of the schools have been in need of some new and used instruments.”
One goal for Superintendent Dr. Linda Kimble is to expand music offerings throughout the district. Weirather said there is talk of incorporating some curriculum in elementary schools.
He said it is critical to provide music education and curriculum in schools. Weirather, who has been at Rancho Buena Vista for 19 years, said the introduction of music at early ages increases cognitive abilities and self-esteem in addition to leading to higher test scores.
“It’s absolutely essential for young kids’ minds,” he said. “It also gives them a feeling of self-worth, something positive as a lot of kids need that in their lives. Music is a very, very powerful tool.”