Tom Eblen: Student seeks musical instruments for Eagle Scout project

As his service project to earn the Eagle Scout rank, Will Lovan is collecting used instruments from the public to benefit elementary schools that feed into Bryan Station High School. Photo Provided
As his service project to earn the Eagle Scout rank, Will Lovan is collecting used instruments from the public to benefit elementary schools that feed into Bryan Station High School. Photo Provided Herald-Leader

Will Lovan knows he is fortunate.

When he wanted to learn to play the trumpet, his parents bought him one. After all, Joel and Tracy Lovan were brass players in high school and college, and Joel, now retired, was band director at Crawford Middle School.

Lovan, above, was talented enough to get into the School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Lafayette High School, which enabled him to join the award-winning Lafayette Band. The sophomore is now an all-state trumpeter and plays in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra.

But he knows that other aspiring musicians are not so fortunate, including many kids who live near his home in North Lexington.

So when Lovan, 16, was looking for a service project to organize and lead as part of the requirements to earn his Eagle Scout rank, he had an idea: Why not urge people to donate musical instruments to the elementary schools that feed into Bryan Station High School?

"My goal is to get more kids involved at an earlier age," Lovan said. "And to get the instruments that Bryan Station needs to have the kind of feeder system Lafayette and Dunbar have. Even if they're beat-up instruments, we can have them fixed."

Lovan and fellow members of Troop 282 will launch the instrument drive Saturday by distributing fliers in several Lexington neighborhoods. He also is appealing to parishioners at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, which sponsors his troop, and members of his own church, Crestwood Christian.

Instruments can be dropped off at any of three music stores: Don Wilson Music, 275 Southland Drive; Fred Moore Music, 443 South Ashland Avenue; and Hurst Music, 101 North Mount Tabor Road. Or contact Lovan at (859) 559-1077 or to have an instrument picked up.

Cash donations to pay for replacing pads, corks and missing parts on donated instruments can be made to the Will Lovan Instrument Drive at any Central Bank branch.

Even before he launched the instrument drive, Lovan was given two flutes and two clarinets. He soon hopes to have a basement full of instruments so Shaun Owens, Bryan Station's band director, and Michael Payne, the assistant director, can have them reconditioned. Then they will join the inventory of loaner instruments for students at the 10 elementary schools and five middle schools that feed into Bryan Station.

Owens said he was thrilled when Lovan approached him with the idea.

"The fact that he was willing to make this happen here meant a lot to me," Owens said. "He is a Lafayette student, and there are students in Lafayette's feeder pattern that are just as needy and just as deserving."

But Bryan Station's service area has a larger population of students with economic circumstances that might prevent them from becoming involved with music.

"A lot of these kids may be afraid or hesitant to do it because they know that Mom or Dad don't have the money to go get them an instrument," Owens said. "We want to make sure every kid who wants to do this has the opportunity to experience it."

Students who can't buy an instrument can rent one from local music stores, but some kids can't even afford that. For them, Bryan Station and its feeder schools don't have enough loaner instruments to meet the demand.

Owens said he sometimes must use a lottery to lend popular instruments in elementary schools. If a student ends up with his second or third choice, the desire to learn might be diminished.

"I want to make sure those kids are immediately successful," he said. "If they don't get that immediate feedback, they're more likely to give up."

School music programs teach students music, but, more importantly, they teach life lessons: dedication, practice, teamwork and striving to be the best you can be.

Lexington has been home to many of Kentucky's best high school bands and orchestras for decades, so Lovan knows there must be a lot of old instruments gathering dust in people's homes.

"I hate to see an instrument sitting in a closet being unplayed," Owens said. "It would be much better in the hands of a young person who could make wonderful music with it. You never know what kind of difference you could make in their lives."

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