The Band Together project embodies our belief that every single student should have an engaging and inclusive place to create as an artist. In the past 3 years we have learned that many students needed a more formalized invitation into that reality and now we are jubilant because our performing arts programs reflects the population of Hood River Middle School (HRMS). By the numbers, in 3 years, we have changed the culture of our school. As we look ahead, 3 years into the future, we see a sustained program at HRMS and a deeper connection between the schools, arts organizations and the entire community.

Just this morning, the Music Festival of the Gorge (MFOG) committee, a group of community members hoping to honor their musician friend who passed away and AIEG staff met with every music specialist in the HRCSD to discuss current needs within their programs. MFOG raised $16,000 at our annual event, all to support music programs in HRCSD. As the OCF S2S grant sunsets, this program will help us sustain what we have started at HRMS and continue to make the performing arts programs across the HRCSD more equitable.

Likewise, our Morning Sectionals program, a fees for private lessons program, with a scholarship arm funded by the OCF S2S grant, will continue to generate revenue to sustain the existing program and to help meet the needs of those students who can not afford private music lessons.

The OCF Studio to School Initiative helped to change the culture of one middle school, an entire school district and now it is changing the way our community comes together around supporting the performing arts programs in all of HRCSD.  When we chose the name for our project, Band Together, we chose it with intention, knowing that no matter what we do in the future, we will do it together.