ARMA — In a normally quiet place, children from around Arma found themselves surrounded by music Thursday.
The Arma Public Library wrapped their summer reading program — which concentrated on having fun and the importance of music in children’s lives — ending with a small concert and a giveaway of two guitars and a mandolin to children in the audience.
The library invited a local music teacher, Sandy Hemphill to come weekly and play a “trash” band with the children, using instruments made of random objects. At the last session Thursday Hemphill brought in a guitar for the kids to try.
Hemphill has been a music teacher for over 40 years, and said participating in the Arma library program was important to her.
“Children need to be exposed to instruments, even in a small town,” Hemphill said. “These kids deserve the same cultural opportunities as kids from large cities.”
Librarian Brenda Banks agreed, and said the importance of the program goes beyond just learning music. “I think it’s important to be together and have fun, with no other agenda than to have a good time.”
The final program featured a special guest, John ‘Cless’ Gorentz, who owns an Arma business, Odezza Pickups, which creates the electronics for guitars. Gorentz was on hand to present an electric guitar to a participant and talk about how guitars are made. The guitar was donated by Johnny Jeffery, and Gorentz built the electronics. The guitar bag was donated by 4th Street Pawn.
“I like to see kids get interested in music,” Gorentz said. “So if I’m in a position to build something and give it them I’m going to do it.”
Simon Jones, 9, who had participated in the program for the past two months said was he excited he won one of the guitars.
“I’m a billion times excited,” Simon said. “I really wanted to take one home.”
Simon’s mother, Beth Jones, said her son has really taken to the music program.
“Every week he would count down until he got to go to the library,” Jones said. “We’ve had a great time with this program.”
Eight year-old Isaac Ferrell — who won the mandolin — wriggled happily as he explained he had big hopes but was realistic in his odds.
“I thought I probably wasn’t going to win,” Issac said. “But I crossed my fingers really tight, and wished with my brother, and I got it!”
All of the children who participated got cake and a chance to do a solo with Hemphill.