Hunters Lane’s Band wins instruments, cash & hearts

Six Hunters Lane High School band members received the surprise of their lives Thursday.

The event was a team building session for engineers from the Siemens Corporation. Many traveled in from all over the country. The kids were assigned one team and using beans, cups, and drumsticks they had to create a jingle (with the help of three professional songwriters).

The six students were selected by their band teacher Mr. William Brooks for their overall leadership and citizenship. They took part in an contest with a grand prize of a musical instrument of their very own. They were told one of them would win. Boy, were they surprised.

“This was a ruse,” explained Hunters Lane Principal Dr. Susan Kessler. “All kids were going to leave there with an instrument, and Mr. Brooks and I kept that secret for weeks!” Turns out Dr. Kessler and Mr. Brooks were in for a big, big surprise of their own…

The Siemens engineers were each hoping “their student” would win.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.04.41 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.04.49 PM

Each group performed their jingle and a winning group received toy medals. After showing the promo video of the kids, they called them all on stage. One student was awarded an instrument.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.05.00 PM

A minute later they were all surprised when the executives walked in with a brand new instrument for each of them! They also surprised Mr. Brooks with a teaching trumpet for him to use.

(Not very steady as Dr. Kessler was shooting photos as well!)

Then the unbelievable happened.

One couple walked up and said they were writing a check for $1,000 for the band because of Mr. Brooks’ work. Then all of the Siemens Executives in attendance reached into their wallets and started handing Dr. Kessler money: $100’s, $50’s, and $20’s. Dr. Kessler left with the check, a promise of another $500 check and more than $600 in cash. When Dr. Kessler got home, she received an e-mail that they collected another $460 to deliver later on.

“I felt stressed because this is not how we do donations,” explains Dr. Kessler, “I didn’t have donation letters or anything indicating who these people were. Those people believed so strongly that they were compelled to hand us cash for help.” All together the band earned more than $6,500 in donations and instruments.

How meaningful are these gifts? Very. Two of the six students have experienced personal tragedy. One wrote about how her clarinet was repossessed by a pawn shop. Another promised to sleep with the instrument if she won it because she has never had something new of value.

But their wild ride STILL wasn’t over.

Dr. Kessler, Mr. Brooks and the students were loaded back into a limo and returned to the school in style. Everyone was grateful and in complete shock of the generosity. “I attended the event partly because I was worried it was ‘too good to be true’,” said Dr. Kessler. “Instead, I ended up getting to be the privileged witness of a life changing day for kids. It was one of those moments that makes this job worthwhile!”

Thanks to Mr. Brooks and Dr. Kessler for making a difference and changing lives!

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.10.16 PM

Want to help Hunters Lane High School Band yourself?

Just LIKE their video on Instagram to help them win WKRN News 2’s “March to the Top” Contest! The marching bands with the most likes on Instagram for the FINAL week will win $2,000 for 1st place, $1,000 for 2nd place and $500 for 3rd place! Voting ends Thursday, November 6th at 3pm.



#March2thetop week 5 winner Hunters Lane High School

A post shared by WKRN (@wkrntv) on

Posted on October 31, 2014, in Community Partners, Schools, Students and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This made me tear up. Awesome!!!


  2. Mr. Brooks Truely puts his all in for our children that love music. I am very proud parent and very excited to see a band director that Truly cares and loves his student (his babies) success in the Hunters Lane High School band program. Well Done Mr. Brooks and in all that contributes to the success of the Human Boom Box 2016. Mrs Kessler gain a valued employee of Hunter Lane Good Job.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: