Program to provide free beginner band lessons for Amsterdam fifth graders

With the cancellation of this school year’s elementary band program by the Greater Amsterdam School District, a private partnership between area teachers and non-profit organizations will aim to fill the gap by providing free beginner band lessons and instrument rentals to fifth grade students in the district.

The program is scheduled to run from April through June and will be taught by retired GASD music teachers Stephanie Ossenfort and Theresa Jordan, as well as current Fonda-Fultonville Band Director Charles Lenig and student teacher Jake LaBate, who is currently enrolled with the Crane School of Music.

The Walter Elwood Museum is providing lesson space, and Tim Becker, who is also publisher of the Mohawk Valley Compass, is serving as coordinator. Becker is a member of the board of directors of Freedom Church, which is also providing lesson space and financial oversight of the program.

The program will be funded by donations from the community, and Freedom Church has pledged an initial $1000 donation toward the $8600 total budget. Individuals, organizations, or businesses are welcome to donate to the program at All proceeds will be used only for program expenses, which include instrument rentals, stipends for each teacher, and stands and lesson books for each student.

For more information, or if you have a child you would like to enroll in the program, please visit