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The Oelwein beginner band program has received 24 new, discounted instruments it purchased thanks to a $9,000 grant from the Dean and Mary Harms Memorial Fund.

“They were just delivered this week,” beginning band director Melissa Franzen said. “We have added seven flutes, seven clarinets, seven trumpets and three trombones to our school instrument inventory! This will allow us to replace a few of our older instruments that need major repair works done, and will add some additional instruments to allow more students to join our Band program!”

The instruments will stay with the band students in grades 5-7, she said. “As eighth graders begin to play more often with the High School band, they will start to use the HS instruments more often.”

West Music road representative Jeff Taylor told Franzen of the grant opportunity and encouraged her to seek it, she said.

Parents who had to shell out for an instrument may be scratching their heads over the value the school received.

“Since the instruments are for the school’s Band program, West Music is able to give us a discounted price on our new instrument purchases,” Franzen said. “West Music is always very helpful in supporting our program in any capacity they can.”

Franzen, who wrote the grant request, credited a fellow band director she knows in Northwest Iowa who had received funds from the program with connecting her with Dean and Mary Harms’ son, Phillip.

Franzen said there wasn’t a formal application process to receive this grant.

“I sent a few emails back and forth with Phillip, and he helped me secure the funds necessary to make our purchase,” Franzen said. “Phillip was very easy to work with — he was always quick to respond to emails and questions, and he was able to offer us the funds necessary to make our large purchase in about a week! The whole thing went really smoothly and quickly.”


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