Newport Intermediate School band director John Bringetto isn’t letting a lack of instruments get in the way of his students’ music education. If he has to, he’ll get them instruments for free.
Bringetto worked during the past year to collect used instruments for his 55- member sixth grade band.
“There’s a lot of interest in the music program, and I wanted to fill that interest,” he said.
Since getting instrument donations, the band has expanded to 55 students — 20 more than last year. Because kids can be fickle in choosing instruments, Bringetto noted, he tries to present them with as many choices as possible.
He lets them try a clarinet, but if they want something with a deeper sound, he has a bass clarinet on hand. If they don’t like woodwind instruments, he has plenty of brass horns available.
It took some time to get donations, but after several weeks, they “just started rolling in,” Bringetto said. They started with a handful of trumpets, flutes, and clarinets and have now expanded to include an oboe and, Bringetto hopes, a bassoon.
“I’m connected with the music community in a lot of different ways and that’s very helpful,” he said. “By talking to everybody, I find a way.”
Bringetto solicited the musical circles he had built up during more than 15 years of performing experience to get the instruments. Everywhere he performs, from the Lincoln Pops Orchestra to small jazz gigs, he makes a point to ask for instrument donations.
“For example I play at Ch’Boogie down on the Bayfront,” he said. “The other day, I ended up with a trumpet, clarinet, two flutes.”
Other schools within Lincoln County School District have also traded instruments with Bringetto, but he relies primarily on asking for donations at gigs.
Many of the instruments have come from attics and garages, and have been well used or badly abused. Instruments that need more technical work are sent out to local repair shops, but some come in needing minor repairs that Bringetto takes care of himself.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Fresno State University, Bringetto spent more than 15 years traveling and performing. He taught intermittently and eventually arrived at Newport Intermediate school.
While he performs mainly on the trumpet, it’s not the only instrument Bringetto plays. During his time on the road, he has learned to play as many instruments as possible. Saxophones, clarinets, and flutes are all part of his musical repertoire. All come in handy when teaching technique to his students.
Bringetto hopes to retain at least 70 percent of his students as they advance through school. He believes that a music education is immensely beneficial to the kids, giving them both a community within the band and encouraging their mental development.
“Music is mathematical, regimented,” he said, “and requires commitment, like being in a team sport.”