Pictured left to right: David Sharp, Joey Barnes, Constance Hardaman, Quentin Green (BMS/BHS Band Students); Andrew Bernard (Band Director); Kerry Hale, Lender Luse, Mark Turner (MCSD School Board Members); Elizabeth Towle (BMS Principal)


National Foundation Awards Grant to Outstanding Local Music Program


(Norfolk, VA), (February 13, 2023) – Byhalia Middle School will soon receive new musical instruments, thanks to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a national organization supporting music education in schools.


With many school music programs across the country losing vital funding, the foundation helps under-served schools with minimal budgets by donating new instruments, often replacing some that are more than 30 years old.


An application for support was submitted by Byhalia Middle School and the foundation found their program to be a worthwhile investment, allowing more students to be able to play and experience the benefits of music education.


“Mr. Bernard has done a great job growing the band programing since he started at BMS six years ago. This grant will be a great opportunity to grow our band program even further, by putting high quality instruments into the hands of all of our students.”


“We believe in supporting schools that recognize the importance of music education for their students,” said Felice Mancini, President and CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.  “To give more kids the experience of making music in school is more important than ever and giving teachers quality instruments makes a huge difference. The benefits are tremendous.”


Byhalia Middle School is located in Marshall County, Mississippi. The school serves 450 students in grades 5-8, achieving a B rating for the 2021-2022 school year. The BMS band program has been an integral part of engaging students in high-quality extracurriculars that help drive student achievement and overall school success. The band program consists of about 40 students, and continues to grow in both size and quality each year.


The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation was inspired by the acclaimed motion picture Mr. Holland’s Opus, the story of the profound effect a dedicated music teacher had on generations of students. The film's composer, Michael Kamen, started the foundation in 1996 as his commitment to the future of music education. The Foundation keeps music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, and vital support services to school districts nationwide, giving economically-disadvantaged youth access to the many benefits of music education, leading them to success in school, and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country have benefited. Please visit mhopus.org for more information.