For percussionists young and old, it's a dream to unpack $60,000 worth of new instruments. At Onalaska High School Thursday morning they did exactly that. Thanks to a partnership with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, percussion students at Onalaska now have the top of the line.
"I'm like a kid in a candy store, I mean I just want to play everything," said Rich MacDonald, Principle Percussionist for LSO.
Onalaska High School has shared their percussion equipment with LSO for over 20 years. When it came time for an upgrade, a fund raising goal of $60,000 was met in just 3 months.
"The community involvement with the folks here has been really terrific. I've never seen anything like it," MacDonald said.
All of the new equipment will be shared between Onalaska, LSO and La Crosse Youth Symphony Orchestra and be kept at the high school. That's a slightly unusual arrangement for a professional orchestra to take on.
"That's a lot of trust I think," said Onalaska Band Director Robert Coe. "For the professional community to allow a high school to store and use the equipment as well, it shows how the La Crosse Symphony is really trying to outreach to youth in the area."
It's a way for the pros and those just starting out to have a chance to play on the very best.
Typically, Onalaska would have to budget for only one new percussion instrument per year as necessary, but with the new shared equipment that frees funds in the budget to address other needs like new uniforms and brass instruments for the marching band.