Passionate about music, Emily Bass aspires to equip her school, Union High, with a new piano, something she insists is greatly needed.
When Bass contended in the Miss Union pageant last year, she planned to play the piano in the talent competition; however, “The piano was in such bad shape, you couldn’t use it,” she recalled, stating that it was “damaged and missing keys.” Her father had to move the piano from Union Elementary and have it tuned for her to play in the pageant.
As it turns out, Bass won the title of Miss Union and decided she wanted to see the school get a new piano but “never thought she’d get the opportunity” to make that happen. That is, until she found she had to complete the senior graduation project.
Although the graduation project is not state-mandated for Bass’ class of 2009, she explained that the school decided her class would complete a “trial run” to prepare for next year when it will be a requirement for high school graduation.
Since an eight-page paper is a requirement of the project, Bass reported, she realized it would be easier if she chose to write about a topic that interests her. A nine-year piano student of Jean Hatch, and a guitarist and vocalist, Bass chose to study the benefits of music and its impact in education. The product of her project will be a new piano for her school. She entitled her project “The Keys to Success.”
Bass conveyed a passion for music and noted its impact in her own life. “Developing a background in the arts has given me more confidence, something to work for and something to believe in.” She hopes her project will provide an “outlet for other students ... to have the opportunities (to learn about music) that she has been blessed to do.”
Bass said she was actually “really looking forward to the project” because she saw it could “open doors” for her school and meet a “pretty big need.” She mentioned that the only musical course currently offered at Union High is band. A piano could create more student clubs, courses and activities such as Key Club, Theater Arts and Chorus, Bass noted.
Raising money for the piano is Bass’ current endeavor. “Who knew how expensive pianos were?” she exclaimed. The cheapest one she priced is $3,000. In spite of the high cost, Bass continues with her plan to provide a new piano for her school. The first step was to create a fund, which she named “Emily’s Piano Fund.” She sent letters to businesses in Clinton and the Union district, as well as to some people she thought would donate to the fund.
She devised a way to offer sponsors more incentive to give — advertisement on a tee-shirt Bass designed herself. “White Key Sponsors,” Bass explained, are donors who give $100 or less. “Black Key Sponsors” are those who donate more than $150.
More funds for the piano will come from the Little Miss Union pageant, planned for April, which is sponsored by Bass and a pageant she started when she became Miss Union High. The enrollment fee will be increased this year, Bass stated, and there will be a charge for program books. Bass will split the proceeds with Union Elementary.
The product for the senior project is supposed to be completed by May 2, 2009. If enough money is not raised by that date, Bass revealed, the fund will continue until enough has been raised; however, she hopes this is not the case. “It won’t affect my grade that bad, if I don’t have (the piano) by then, but I want to see it happen ... I want to be the one to make it happen.”
Bass credits and thanks her mentor, Angela Martin, for the many ideas and words of encouragement she has given. “When I think I can’t do it, she’s always saying people are always willing to give,” Bass commented. She chose Martin to be her mentor because of her background in musical theater. The mentorship is one of the state’s requirements for the project, Bass confirmed. She also mentioned thanks for the guidance and assistance of her academic advisor, Tommy Barker.
To contribute to “Emily’s Piano Fund,” checks may be sent to Union High School, made payable to the school, with “Keys to Success” or “Emily’s Piano Fund” written in the memo line.
Amy Kelly can be reached by phone at 592-8137 ext. 119 or by email at email@example.com.