Tara Shaffer zipped up her daughter’s new snare drum and xylophone set amid the controlled chaos around her.
Just feet away, new musicians played their first notes on clarinets, flutes and trombones. Maddie, Shaffer’s fourth grade daughter, said she was excited to get one of only two snare drums in the room.
The Shaffers were first in line at the State College Area Music Boosters’ 34th annual Used Instrument Sale in the State College Area High School north building’s cafeteria. Other families had their used instruments priced Wednesday night for the Thursday night sale and signed a 10 percent cosignment fee.
Robert Drafall, the school district’s coordinator of music, said that proceeds from the cosignment fee benefited the district’s K-12 music programs. Mary Krohn-Smith, an instrumental strings teacher, said about 150 used instruments were on sale at the event.
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Lauren Chatman and Chloe Bevilacqua, eighth graders at Park Forest Middle School, came almost as early as the Schaffers. Bevilacqua said she just wanted to look at piccolos before possibly buying one next year. Chatman came to look for a good trombone, and she found one.
“I stopped playing in the band for about six months, but my friends and teacher wanted me to come back,” Chatman said. “They needed more people to play the trombone, so I play the trombone in the jazz band. It costs a lot to rent each month, and my parents said they wanted to buy one here.”
State High students were also stationed at each instrument to talk with parents and future musicians.
Katie Reese, a senior, said she uses the same flute her parents bought eight years ago at the sale.
“I still have it and play it in the marching band,” Reese said. “It’s fun, because you get to see their faces light up when they’re at first not sure and then realize what they want to play.”
Reese helped Daniel Nab’s daughter Taylar, a sixth grader, pick out a flute.
“I play the recorder already, but I think the flute will be harder and I wanted to challenge myself,” Taylar said. “I think it’d be fun to play the flute. I’ll practice a lot.”
Ryan Czekaj, a senior, said he enjoyed helping children pick the clarinet.
“It’s really awesome seeing how many people are excited to come in here and get something for their kid,” Czekaj said. “It’s cool knowing I had a part in shaping their lives and their interest in music, and hopefully they have a great experience in band.”
Jack Eggert, who repairs woodwinds, said he has been going the the sale for 31 years. He helped price and sell used instruments at the first sale in 1980, when his friend Joe Allesandro told him the band boosters needed help for the event.
“He asked me to come, because they needed help pricing the woodwinds,” Eggert said. “I’ve come back every year I could, and I’ve only missed three times when I had a knee replacement, a hip replacement and when I was out of town working. Music has been very important in my life, and I really enjoy working with families and the kids to save money on their instruments.”