by Dennis Dalman
It’s as if some musical clouds let loose and started raining guitars – 30 of them, all told – acoustic classical guitars, Yamaha brand.
Sartell-St. Stephen School District Band Director David Lumley was all smiles. Then he began once again to daydream – this time with encroaching hope – about starting guitar classes for students.
Last December, Lumley wrote a grant application to the Sartell-St. Stephen Education Foundation. Later, he learned his request was granted, which allowed him to order the 30 guitars and guitar cases for a total cost of about $4,500. The guitars arrived in a mail shipment.
“We are so glad to have them,” Lumley said. “I’m really thankful. The SSEF purchases so many things the schools normally wouldn’t get.”
Lumley has been band director at Sartell High School for 10 years. Before that, he worked in the Cambridge-Isanti School District, where one of his duties was teaching a guitar class. The guitar, naturally, is one of Lumley’s favorite instruments as he is a lead-guitar player and singer in the local band “Radio Nation.”
Already, he’s introduced guitar exposure into some of the music department’s special units. Someday, sooner than later, he hopes to begin a full-fledged guitar class filled with students eager to learn.
The arts, including music, Lumley said, are important in schools because they enrich students and make them “whole” and well-rounded in so many ways. Learning to play instruments, singing and performing involve developing a lot of life skills – working together, collaboration, team planning and team goals, Lumley explained.
“There’s nothing planned now for a guitar class,” said Lumley, adding quickly in an upbeat voice, “Not yet.”