Following a devastating fire in June, students of the Dike-Newell elementary school in Bath are attending classes at the vacant vocational center on High Street this fall. Students return to class on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day.
Many things were lost in the fire, including nearly everything in the music room for the kindergarten through second grade school.
Music teacher Celina Reed tells WMTW that everything in the second-floor music room is considered a total loss, except for her ukulele, which was saved by firefighters the next day.
Reed just started teaching at Dike-Newall last school year. She says the music teacher before her spent more than 30 years saving her budget to purchase and collect a variety of instruments, drums, percussion instruments, and supplies for the students.
She says it’s not clear yet how much or if insurance will cover the loss of music supplies and instruments, but she doesn’t expect that everything will be replaced. For instance, she says they lost a rosewood Orff bass xylophone that costs over a $1,000.
The district has helped, and Reed says her classroom has egg shakers, a boomwhacker and a drum for every student (a classroom set is about 20 instruments). She said she bought and cut up pool noodles for the students to use as scraper instruments.
Reed also says another teacher donated her childhood Beanie Babies to replace Reed’s that were lost in the fire. She says kindergarten students refer to the Beanie Babies as beat buddies. And she says her family and friends have helped finance room decorations to make the new space inviting.
For now, Reed says the school needs child-friendly instruments like tambourines, triangles, maracas, jingle bells, rhythm sticks, roll-up keyboard pianos that can be placed on the floor, glockenspiels, mallets, and sound effect instruments (cowbell, vibra -slap, etc.) She also needs materials she can use to make music come to life for the children, like finger puppets, crayons, play dough, and pipe cleaners. She says individually, these items are fairly affordable, but together the cost is overwhelming.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the music room, and Reed says this is the most convenient way for the community to help as that will allow her to use the money to buy sets of instruments right away and keep track of what they have and what they still need .
She says she is hesitant to accept donated band and orchestra instruments right now because they are tougher instruments for these grade levels and she does not have a space to store them.