Local artists have transformed these broken musical instruments into artworks. The pieces will be for sale via an online auction starting September 1. Proceeds benefit Grand County school district’s band program. A cello mosaic by Kristi Peterson is pictured here. [Photo by Bruce Hucko]

An unusual art exhibit opening on Wednesday, Aug. 17, and a lively outdoor concert coming up on Thursday, Aug. 25, will benefit young Moab student musicians.

Former Moab Music Festival artist-in-residence Christopher Layer founded the MoabBandAid concert four years ago to raise money for the Grand County High School Marching Band. The Moab Music Festival decided to continue the annual fundraiser after Layer’s departure, MMF Coordinator Erin Groves said.

“We wanted it to live on,” she said.

The concert will take place on Aug. 25 during the Moab Farmers Market, which runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West. The concert will feature the award-winning high school marching band and the Moab Community Dance Band, known for its old-time contra dance music.

“The music of both bands will be quite lively,” and dancing on the lawn is encouraged, Groves said.

Celebrating and supporting your community high school marching band is an “all-American,” thing to do, Groves said. She hopes that people will come out and show their support – both in spirit, and financially – for the high school band.

While the concert is free, 100 percent of donations collected during the event will go toward reducing the fees that students pay to participate in band, Groves said. At roughly $400, the fees are unaffordable for some students.

“Our goal is to find outside funding to reduce band fees,” Groves said. “Lowering costs would make it easier (for more students) to participate.”

Donations will also go toward the purchase of new color-guard equipment, the cost of competition expenses and acquisition of new musical scores for the band.

Prizes such as Moab Music Festival tickets and merchandise will be given out at the event, Groves said.

Last year’s MoabBandAid concert raised about $1,200, middle- and high-school band director Casey Lawson said.

“If we match or exceed that it will be exciting; we want to keep the ball rolling,” Lawson said. “The band program is really thankful to work with the (Moab Music) Festival. They always have creative ideas to help us out.”

Children typically enjoy contributing to the cause by tossing coins in the sousaphone bell, a type of tuba suitable for a marching band, Groves said. The sousaphone will be present at the event again this year.

Instrument Art Auction

The Moab Music Festival is also lending its support to another event aimed at promoting music education in Moab.

The festival, along with local artists and Grand County public schools, collaborated in creating a unique art exhibit at the Museum of Moab that will run from Wednesday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Sept. 30.

Each year, the Moab Music Festival accepts applications from Moab music teachers seeking assistance for their music programs. In 2015, teachers universally demonstrated a need for updated musical libraries, Groves said.

Students may rent those instruments for the year to see if they like playing music before investing in a purchase.

Many of the school’s instruments are in disrepair and are so badly damaged that they’re not worth repairing, Groves said.

Music directors Nanci Flesher, of the BEACON strings program, and Lawson, plus the Moab Music Festival came up with an innovative idea to give new life to those unplayable musical instruments.

In February, the MMF collected 10 instruments, half from the BEACON strings program, and half from the middle- and high-school bands. Working with Gallery Moab artist Page Holland, the instruments were distributed to local artists who repurposed them into beautiful works of art.

“Artists transformed them into sculptures, wall hangings,” Groves said. “One was turned into wind chimes to continue to make music.”

The exhibit will be featured during the September Art Walk on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. The art pieces will be for sale via an online auction that will run from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Thursday, Sept. 15.

“All the money goes back to the programs from which the instruments came,” Groves said.

In addition to the benefits, the Moab Music Festival puts on a fall music festival each year, along with a musical raft trip. This year’s festival will run from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 12; the musical raft trip is set for Sept. 12 through Thursday, Sept. 15. For more information, visit www.moabmusicfest.org or call Groves at 435-259-7003.

Moab BandAid concert, unique art exhibit support school band program

What: MoabBandAid concert

When: Thursday, Aug. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Where: Moab Farmers Market, Swanny Park, 400 N. 100 West

Cost: Free – donations accepted

Information: LawsonC@grandschools.org; 469-742-3133

Our goal is to find outside funding to reduce band fees … Lowering costs would make it easier (for more students) to participate.