Music program earns unexpected grant


Jazmine Valerio

Music teacher Wes Hambright and senior Derek Calderon strum their guitars in the courtyard outside of the music room.

Jazmine Valerio

After forgetting about applying for a $5000 grant from the Guitar Center Music Foundation, music teacher Wes Hambright opened his email and was pleasantly surprised to find that he had been awarded the grant. 

“Funny enough, I don’t even remember applying for the grant,” Hambright said. “I may have applied right before the pandemic. When I found out that I had been awarded the grant, then I remembered.”

Hambright has needed the Guitar Center Music Foundation Grant (GCMFG) for instrument repairs and new equipment. Unlike larger schools with bigger music programs and more funding, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s music classes can’t send an instrument in need of repairs to a repair shop. 

Instead, Hambright teaches guitar repair lessons and repairs the guitars and other broken instruments himself. With the grant, new instruments and equipment are in the future for Hambright’s music classes. With this amount of money, Hambright has ordered new acoustic guitars, guitar racks, a new amp, a couple of bases, electric keyboards and an amplifier. Along with these items, 10 new gig bags are also in Hambright’s music class’s future. 

“I hope that all the new equipment will inspire all of my students to write their own music and play amazingly,” Hambright said. 

From a long list of instrumental gear, Hambright chose which ones he wanted to have and added them to a wishlist of items that were not on the list but were wanted, such as guitar amplifiers and microphones. Senior Hadley Amory-Mueller hopes that some of the new equipment will include a Baglama, which is a Turkish instrument. 

“I would really like to see a Baglama as a new instrument. Having a Baglama would be really cool,” Mueller said.  

Hambright hopes that all of the new equipment will inspire his students to play better or to write their own music. Senior Evan Gleason likes Hambright’s class because it gives him a chance to explore music.

“Mr. Hambright’s music class is a nice change of pace. His class gives students a chance to try something new,” Gleason said.