It was a late school night at Trevor G. Browne High School where choir teacher Troy Meeker was setting up for a district-wide chorus festival with his students. At around 7 o’clock, his phone began to ring. On the tail end of the call, a granted wish.
“I put it on speaker phone and my students got to hear what the wish was that was being granted – that they were going to get this drum kit that they had been looking forward to for a couple of years,” Meeker said. “It was so funny the kids were so excited, but they didn’t want to interrupt because they knew they were on speaker and if they started yelling it would interrupt him. They were just like quietly jumping up and down in the classroom.”
Back in September of 2018, Meeker filled out a small grant application that was selected through the Fiesta Bowls Wishes for Teachers program. His $5,000 wish: an electric drum set.
Meeker’s drive for a drum set stemmed from the noise drowning out the choir in past performances.
“The ability to control that sound with the drum kit is just going to make their performance so much better. The drum noise didn’t allow the students to be the ultimate focus of their performance,” Meeker said. “Now I’ll be able to have it at a professional level, and that is going to provide them an opportunity to have the moment that they deserve.”
Meeker originally searched through outside opportunities. For three years, the school’s performing arts department tried to find a funding source for the drum set. With a lack of financial support, it was a hard sell through the district.
Trevor G. Browne is a Title I school, meaning more than 80% of the student body receives free breakfast and lunch daily. With 340 students, the school boasts one of the largest choir programs in Arizona.
The school received the drums in December and immediately put them into use at the school’s Winter concert, where the students performed a wide array of songs that expand across different cultures.
“My biggest job is through music, to give kids an opportunity to explore their world and express their emotions, cultures and life experiences. So it’s definitely a little bigger than just teaching a couple of songs,” Meeker said.
“It’s a performance instrument, it’s going to allow the students to do things on stage that they couldn’t have done before,” Meeker said. “That’s really something special.”