Community involvement pays off for Iola bands

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March 17, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Making a connection with the community has been a goal for Iola High School band instructor Matt Kleopfer. His wish is coming true by evidence of gifts from the community.
Josh Oberley from Modern Woodmen donated $3,683 to the Iola band program Thursday. The gift was a match to an earlier donation from L.C. Lacy after the band students performed at the Allen County Country Club.
“I want to give a huge thanks for the community’s support,” Kleopfer said. “It seems like we get donations or a card or a compliment every day.”
To continue the band’s outreach to the community, the IHS band will host a banquet on May 2. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. and be in the Iola High School commons area. Tickets will go on sale starting April 1 and can be purchased by contacting the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Kleopfer said  the banquet is meant to bring band alumni and current students together. There will be a dinner and a performance during the event. Students will also talk about the future of the program. Attendees don’t even have to be a band member from Iola.
“They didn’t have to play here,” he said. “It’s whoever wants to be a part of the family.”
He said he is very thankful for the community support the band has already received. The proceeds from the banquet will help the band’s future.
“We would like to raise money for a trip to the Alamo Bowl and help purchase new instruments,” Kleopfer said.
The  band program is growing rapidly. It is expected to have 100 students at the middle school level.
The Iola bands have been busy this year. The pep band traveled to Park City with the Mustangs for basketball state playoffs.
“For the last show of the year it was the perfect end to the season,” Kleopfer said.
Now that pep band season is over, the band will continue practicing for state competition. Students come in an hour before school for sectional practice.
“They know when they miss,” he said. “They know when something sounds bad. They are their own best teachers and it’s really fun to watch.”
During the summer Kleopfer teaches a 10-week program to help teach the basics to new students and help perfect talent in others.
“The players who came during the summer are leading through the year,” he said.
The band will also start recording cd’s soon. Kleopfer purchased a recording program and cd’s will be available for donation.
“I’m showing the kids how to edit and record music,” he said. “I’m hoping to get an audio/tech class down the road.”

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