SUGAR CITY, Idaho - It was the first day of school for many students throughout Eastern Idaho, and while Sugar-Salem students are one week in, it was still a day of firsts.
Mark Seare is the band director at Sugar-Salem Junior and Senior High. Today he guided sixth and seventh graders toward their first musical instrument.
"I'll send the students out with mouthpiece sanitizer and they're going to get to try every instrument tonight."
Seventh-grader William Katko did just that, and got the instrument he hoped for, the trumpet.
"I'm going to see if I can be in the high school band," said Katko.
Students rarely change their instrument or quit, but Seare says even if they do change their tune, it's important the kids have the option available.
"There's all sorts of different programs that develop a kid," said Seare. "Arts, drama and things like that."
Throughout the country tight budgets have forced some schools to cut programs like music, but Sugar-Salem only lost funding for marching.
"Our school systems right now are really focused on the reading and writing things, but studies show time and time again how beneficial music education is," said Seare.
Sugar-Salem and many schools around the area have Chesbro Music and other companies come and provide instrument rentals for families.