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Stanton Elementary students have new instruments for some lively music-making after the school program won more than 30 ukuleles in an online contest. 

   Music teacher Dani Carroll  received 36 new lutes at the beginning of the school year after learning about the contest from a fellow educator. 

  “John Gregg Elementary music teacher Kathy Ramsey shared the contest info with me and said a teacher friend had won ukuleles in the past, so it was worth a try to enter,” Carroll said. “I received a congratulatory email from the [Kala Brand Music Co.] in August. Kala Brand Music had the contest on Facebook to win a classroom set, and I enter any and all contests that can benefit my classroom.” 

   Carroll, who has more than 400 students, planned to use the instruments in her fifth- and sixth-grade classes before inviting the younger pupils to enjoy some strumming. 

   “It takes a good week or so of constant tuning to get the strings to settle and stretch, and then I hope to start adding other grade levels. I’m ecstatic that I am a winner but most excited for my students to learn a new instrument and enjoy playing and singing together.”   

   She said the students were equally excited and she always keeps one available to accompany their singing in each class. 

   “I also demonstrate the proper way to hold them and how to play them. The sixth-grade gifted students have already gotten to try them out and they did such a good job of tuning them and practicing their plucking.” 

  The ukuleles will be used in general music classes and during school programs while Carroll also has a fifth-and sixth-grade concert band.  Meanwhile, she is always seeking new or gently used instruments to benefit her program. 

   “We will gladly take any used band instruments that anyone is looking to get rid of.  We will also accept donations of classroom instruments,” she commented. “I am actually looking into grants to help purchase some Remo Sound Shapes [for drumming] and I also just received a donation of scarves, bean bags, a percussion book and slide whistle from Modern Woodsmen.  The Kala contest, Modern Woodsmen donation and [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief] money that was used last year to buy some new band percussion instruments and baritones have really helped to upgrade our program.” 

   She also thanked school officials, parents and the community for their ongoing support. 

   “Thank you to all of the parents, community members, administration, school board members, Stanton teachers and staff members who continually encourage and support the Stanton Elementary music program.  I work with some pretty amazing people and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with them and the students at Stanton.” 

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