Photo Caption: Tristan McMichael (left) holds the case to a new bassoon while Adam Alexander (center) holds the instrument. PUSD distance learning band teacher, Jane Brown (right) received the donation on behalf of QHS. Photo by Amber McMichael

Fundraising effort snares a bassoon for Quincy High School

The Quincy Music Program officially has a bassoon. The instrument was delivered to Quincy High School’s distance learning band instructor (and bassoonist) Jane Brown on Sept. 3, and will be available for check out to QHS students. It is currently the only double reed instrument in the school’s instrument inventory, and its purchase is the culmination of 18 months of fundraising led by QHS senior Tristan McMichael.

The $5,200 purchase began with individual fundraising by McMichael but was finished through generous donations from several local organizations. QHS sophomore and band member Adam Alexander helped present to the Sierra Cascade Street Rodders, who donated $750 toward the instrument. Bread for the Journey donated $1,000, and Plumas Performing Arts helped the project cross the fundraising finish line by donating the last $102.

Double reed instruments are rare in high school bands and orchestras, largely due to their high price tags, but musicians who can play a bassoon often have more opportunities for scholarships or membership in ensembles than those who play more common instruments.

Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on performing arts programs nationwide, but new research is being conducted on how to hold band classes safely. In the meantime, band students in Plumas County are learning remotely, practicing their instruments for a time when live rehearsals can happen again. A well maintained instrument inventory is vital to the survival of the programs, and the purchase of a bassoon means greater access and opportunities for student musicians in these difficult times.