Lion Mountain VFW donates $15,000 to school band

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Sheila Coulter and Fred Hamilton of the Lion Mountain VFW Post 276 presented Whitefish Middle School Band Director Mark McCrady with a $15,000 check to help replace old instruments. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

The Whitefish Middle School band got a big boost from the Lion Mountain VFW 276, who recently made a donation of $15,000 to the program.

Sheila Coulter, quartermaster at Post 276, presented to the Whitefish School Board last Tuesday on the donation.

“The VFW has really tried this year to make some big impacts in our community and reach out and represent ourselves in a way different than just a bar and a rest and crabby old veterans,” she said, drawing laughter. “We hope this is a step into the School District. We would like to have more needs met through our program. There’s a lot of programs I know need funded and we hope that this can solve some of the band’s funding needs and open communication between the schools and the VFW for help in the future.”

The donation is being used to purchase instruments like saxophones, euphoniums and a French horn to replace aging and worn-out instruments.

WMS band director Mark McCrady said the donation goes a long way to refresh the band’s instrument line up.

“This much-needed funding will allow us to replace several instruments that are more than 50 years old,” said McCrady. “This gift will impact hundreds of students in the years ahead, enhancing their experience as developing musicians. We are truly grateful for this generous gift and are excited about the difference it will make for our students.”

On Friday Coulter and other members of the local VFW presented a check to McCrady during a band rehearsal.

Coulter explained the difference the band can make for the community.

“Over the past several years that I’ve been an active member of the Whitefish VFW, Mr. McCrady and his band have played an integral part in our Memorial Day parade. Without the band, and Mr. McCrady’s direction, our Memorial Day parade and ceremony would not be what it is,” Coulter told the students. “The music you guys provide is what gets to the soul of the people.”

More information is available at www.whitefishvfw.com.

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