Friends of Renton Schools raising money for music programs

Alex Sifuentes practices with other band students at Nelson Middle School. - Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter
Alex Sifuentes practices with other band students at Nelson Middle School.
— image credit: Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter

The Friends of Renton Schools (FoRS), a group of community and business volunteers, is dedicating March to raising funds for district music programs.

As part of a new initiative, the organization has set a goal of raising $50,000 for programs to buy instruments, repair them, purchase sheet music and other supplies for Renton students. The public is being asked to contribute funds toward the FoRS goal via a secure website. There will also be concerts throughout March at area high schools.

To donate, visit

“We’re getting to the point where things break and we can’t get them repaired anymore because they’re old,” said Brian Hoskins, choral conductor at Lindbergh High and Nelsen Middle schools. “We’ve got to start replenishing and keep growing and obviously there’s interest among the kids, so any help is going to be beneficial.”

Nearly half of the student body at Nelsen is in band, choir or orchestra, Hoskins reported, saying programs are doing well and are popular. He’s been teaching in music programs for 14 years in the district.

“In all of the secondary schools right now, we’re fortunate to have band, choir and orchestra, which is a rarity in school districts nowadays,” Hoskins said.

Because he teaches at both the middle and high school level, Hoskins has been some students’ teacher from sixth grade to graduation. He calls his job a luxury because he feeds students into his upper-level classes and gets to watch them turn into competent musicians and confident individuals, he said.

From various economic and ethnic backgrounds, the students Hoskins knows, who stick with music throughout their education, tend to be college-bound.

“Because music programs, I think, really add to a school community and they really involve the students in something that is part of school,” Hoskins said.

One such student is Tanner Zornes, 17, a Lindbergh senior. He started taking choir from Hoskins as a sixth grader and is now planning on going to college. One of Zornes’ favorite musical artists is Michael Bublé, whose jazzy style he can relate to.

“I’ve always loved singing,” Zornes said. “Singing has been a part of my church as well; it just naturally came to me. Um, I met up with Mr. Hos (Hoskins) and he’s been able to develop me and help me improve as an individual and a singer. Since then, having him for seven years, he’s changed my life for the best.”

The National Association for Music Education annually dedicates March to promote awareness of music programs and advocate for their continued growth, with national events. In Renton, FoRS has been dedicated to raising funds for various programs in the school district.

“Our school foundation is starting its fourth year; we have been focusing our fundraising efforts at our benefit breakfast, it is time to expand our footprint in the community,” wrote Pam Teal, FoRS chair and school board member, via email. “That saying, ‘It takes a village…,’ applies here. We are calling upon the village of parents and community members in Renton to help us with March is Music Month.”

Music month concerts

• 7 p.m., March 7, Renton High and Dimmitt Middle schools’ orchestras, Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center, 400 S. Second St.

• 7 p.m., March 21, Lindberg High and Nelson Middle schools’ bands, Lindbergh High Auditorium, 16426 - 128th Ave. S.E.

• 7 p.m., April 4, Hazen High and McKnight Middle schools’ bands, Hazen High Auditorium, 1101 Hoquiam Ave. N.E.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Sep 23
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates