School bands need sousaphones, other musical instruments
by Maddy Houk
Jan 24, 2013 | 1294 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At a glance

To donate money or gently used musical instruments:

Make checks payable to PHS Band Account, c/o Patterson Joint Unified School District Office, 50 Keystone Blvd., Patterson, CA 95363. Donations should be accompanied by a letter so the school can send the donor an invoice for tax purposes.

The “oompah-pah” of the Patterson High School sousaphones has lost its oomph over the years, as the aging instruments need constant repair.

Spencer Jepson and other local band teachers hope community donations can put the pop back in the classic instruments.

“The sousaphones are being held together with electrical tape and the power of positive thinking,” Jepson said. “The sousaphones were literally built between 1945 and 1950 — they’re over 60 years old. If a sousaphone is properly taken care of, it lasts 10 years at least.”

The two sousaphones owned by the band need replacement soon, but Jepson said a new sousaphone costs $5,000 to $6,000.

“You pay for quality,” Jepson said.

The bands at both Patterson High and Creekside Middle schools could also use tubas, saxophones and trumpets to spruce up the brass section. Donated instruments, either new or lightly used, could supply part of the need.

“We have a lot of instruments that are really old and need to be replaced,” Jepson said.

“It’s a lengthy list.”

Phil Alfano, superintendent of Patterson Joint Unified School District, said Jepson and Susan Ingram, a teacher at Creekside Middle School, have given the district a list of instruments they need.

“This is an area we have been focusing on with our grant writing,” Alfano said. “There are several grants out there to support purchasing musical instruments, so we’re going after some of those. It doesn’t mean we will get it, but we’ll give it a shot.”

Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or

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