By Alice Miller
Photo Credit: Kurt Wilson, Missoulian.
A Missoula fifth-grade band student got a late Christmas present this week when she received a trumpet donated by Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.
When band began in the fall, Paxson Elementary student Isabel Munro was excited to make the sounds that inspired her to learn how to play the trumpet in the first place.
However, the trumpet she had rented from Missoula County Public Schools sputtered. The sound was fuzzy and notes often cut off, causing Munro to consider switching instruments.
During class this week, though, Munro had no trouble playing “Ode to Joy” and other short compositions from a horn donated by the California-based Arturo Sandoval Institute, which supports students’ musical educations.
“Now that I have a really good trumpet it makes band really fun,” Munro said about the Bundy horn that arrived over winter break.
Missoula County Public Schools has hundreds of musical instruments that are rented by students each year, said John Combs, the district’s fine arts supervisor. The instruments are well maintained, but they also are well used.
Munro’s trumpet was a particularly well-used one that made learning to play like “learning to ride a bike with flat tires,” Combs said.
Because the trumpet needed almost constant repairs, Munro’s mother requested she be able to rent a different one.
Earlier, a request from another student for a trumpet had been put in My Student in Need, an Internet-based system that connects students and community members to fulfill needs. (Each Monday, the requests are published in the Missoulian and on Missoulian.com.)
When Munro’s request for a different instrument was received, a trumpet already had been donated for the other student.
Then Sandoval himself called, inquiring if the institute could donate a horn.
“It’s obviously been completely refurbished. It’s a beautiful horn. There’s not a dent or scratch on it,” Combs said.
“I think it’s just unique that a world-renowned professional has his eye on Missoula, Montana, enough to care about a fifth-grader in this town,” Combs said. “You never know.”
When Munro went to pick up the instrument this week, she learned about Sandoval, a Cuban jazz trumpeter and 10-time Grammy winner.
“And I tell you what, she wanted to try out that trumpet right away,” Combs said.
When her mom called to request a different trumpet, Munro didn’t expect to receive a horn from a famous trumpet player.
Munro said she was impressed by Sandoval’s playing, which she watched online after she learned who had donated the horn.
“I have a famous person’s trumpet?” she said she thought in disbelief. “It was really cool.”
The trumpet is now part of the district’s store of rented instruments, but Munro can continue to rent it as long as she likes, which could be a while now that she enjoys band class again.
“I think it’s really fun to do, and it’s a part of school when you can do stuff you want to do and not what you’re told to do,” she said.