Music, outside of the box

Box of band instruments making its way through the community

A brand new program consisting of boxes full of sturdy

A brand new program consisting of boxes full of sturdy

It’s even better than a box of chocolates … well almost. A box of delights holding band instruments for everyone is making it’s way through the community for all to enjoy.

Band in a Box is a brand new program consisting of boxes full of sturdy, well built, age appropriate instruments from various cultures from Africa to China.

Funded by a grant from the Regional District of Nanaimo, boxes have been created for children ages four to eight years and one for young children two to five.

The creators of the Band in a box program envisioned the boxes spending time with various organizations that have programs for young children, including Building Learning Together programs such as: Munchkinland, WOW Bus and Mother Goose. Pre-schools, daycares and after-school programs would also benefit.

As it turns out, the expectations of exposing youth to the instruments were far too limited.

When the first of the boxes went out, its success expanded the program to encompass all ages and abilities.

One of the boxes, borrowed by local musician Gerry Barnum and taken on the BLT To Go Bus, visited a youth program where the young musicians were all over it.

He then took it to a group of adults with special needs who meet at Nanoose Place and Barnum said it brought huge smiles to their faces as they explored the various instruments.

“There were about 20 different percussion instruments and they jammed a bit. It was like opening presents at Christmas for them,” Barnum said about the music in motion program.

The musical instruments also reached the French Creek Community School’s 100th Anniversary where Barnum sang Happy Birthday and then got some people of all ages involved in a sing/play-along.

“That was a good event … we had the washboards out and rocked a few tunes.”

The next stop for the traveling music will be the jug band percussion classes at the Arrowsmith Hall. Barnum is part of that program which has members of Phil Harmonic’s Jug Band Orchestra providing amateur musicians instruction on how to perform with things like washboards and spoons.

The classes wrap up in June and from July 13 to 17 from 10 a.m. until  noon, a free intensive program will bring together all the instruments and players who wish to arrange and perform the songs.

Organizations throughout District 69 can borrow Band in a Box at no charge by contacting the Arrowsmith Community Coordinator at

Because the instruments are packed in boxes, they can travel wherever they are needed.

If you have musical instruments that are not being used and would like to donate them to the creative program contact the Arrowsmith Community Coordinator.

More instruments and more boxes mean that even more children, youth, adults and seniors will be delighted by music.


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