FCAHS band receives grant for new instruments

By Jeff Daley jdaley@wdam.com

BROOKLYN, MS (WDAM) - Thanks to grant money from Conn-Selmer Inc., a division of Steinway Musical Instruments, The Forrest County Agricultural High School will soon be performing with new instruments.

The band is one of ten in the country selected to receive an $18,000 grant from Conn-Selmer and an additional $22,000 that the school board voted to pay off in a lease payment plan over three years.

The instruments will replace some that are up to 40 years old.

The band is led by director Charles Simpson who took over a troubled program about two years ago. He has grown the band from 45 to 65 members and they recently were named an "All Superior Band" at a recent festival in Alabama.

Simpson was recently placed on administrative leave with pay after embezzlement charges were filed against him from when he taught in 2005 at Saint Martin's on the coast.

Last week the school board voted to re-instate him after he received support from parents, the community, and Superintendent Doctor Elizabeth Yankay.

"Because of Doctor Yankay and the school board, they allowed me to return to school here," said Simpson. " I was very pleased with that. But the rest of what's going on and it's a process that doesn't involve the school here, it involves me."

The band will perform a a free Christmas concert at William Carey University Thursday, December 16th.

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