Shriners donate thousands of dollars worth of instruments to the Peacock Band Program –


The Moose Jaw Shriners have donated tens of thousands worth of instruments to the Peacock Collegiate Band program, across the Prairie South School Division, and leaders said they are happy to see them put to good use.

Discover what's new from Moose Jaw spoke with Shriner executives Gord Shabbits and Gary Vieser outside the Peacock band room.

“We had what we call 'units' and we had parades, so we had like a military band, we had the marching band, the oriental band, the equestrian team, oh man, so many things,” Vieser explained.

“But as the population ages, we’re also losing members, and some of them just can’t do the things we used to do.”

Shabbits, president of the Moose Jaw Shriners, said the instruments have been in storage for years. The Shriners focus on children — their Shriners children's hospital network is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the world — so it didn't take long to decide where to house the more than 25 drums, tubas, clarinets, French horns and more.

“I thought along with the leadership that we would like to see them passed on to someone who will use them. And so we ended up with the schools.

“And I’m sure they’ll be put to good use here,” Shabbit added. He listened for a moment and laughed: “They already are!”

“With band, unfortunately there are a lot of students who don’t have their own instruments and have to resort to rental instruments,” said Casey Ling, band teacher at Peacock. “This instrument donation just means a lot to a lot of students, especially students who may not be able to afford these (rental) fees.

“The opportunity to make band and music more accessible is just huge.”

Ling said that unlike simpler classes like math or chemistry, band classes can provide a safe space for students – a group they can call their own and feel like they belong.

“In the 10 to 15 minutes that I've been bringing these instruments to school, tons of my students are already walking around and asking, 'Oh, Mr. Ling, what is that thing?'

“I have no doubt that these will be put to good use.”

Darran Teneycke, Prairie South's director of school operations, said the Shriners' donation will have a big impact.

“This is definitely a significant gift,” he noted. “When you buy these brand new instruments, you’re looking at paying over $1,000 for (each) of these instruments.

“We have a number of students who can't afford it (to rent or buy) and so we have a supply of instruments, but whenever we can expand that supply it just gives more students the opportunity to be in the band to participate. ”