School hesitates to buy new drum set


Kimball School’s instrumental music teacher, Kristi Hiles-Smith, requested a new set of timpani, the kettle-like drums in progressive sizes.

“The timpani that we have are over 40 years old, so I thought that it is perhaps time that we try to upgrade those,” Hiles-Smith said. “There are issues with keeping them tuned and have them work the way they are meant to work.”

Along with the request, made at the July 16 Board of Education meeting, Hiles-Smith provided three quotes for the equipment and requested $2,000 from the Kimball School Foundation to help offset the cost of the timpani.

“They (the Foundation) have not met yet,” Hiles-Smith said.

The quotes provided, for a set of four drums, varied from $10,872 to $11,799.95, with the highest quote coming from the closest provider, though Hiles-Smith said the sets can approach the $20,000 range easily.

“The first vendor (with the highest price) is Crossroads Music in Scottsbluff. He is the vendor that we do all of our business with, whenever I can, buying instruments,” she said. “Because he is also the guy that services them when stuff needs repaired.”

Though that bid is the highest, Hiles-Smith said that she thought it was important to do business with the local provider for instruments and repair of those.

Board member Brad Reader asked Hiles-Smith to explain what is wrong with the timpani currently owned and used by the school.

“They are really old and the mechanisms are wearing out,” she said. “The newer timpani have the tuning levers so you know exactly where you are tuning them at. These older ones don’t have that.”

Additionally, she said they are beat up and worn out.

Reader asked if reconditioning was a possibility for these instruments, and though Hiles-Smith did not know if that is possible, she agreed to look into the possibility.

“The only problem with reconditioning our own, they would never have the tuning levers the modern timpani have,” she said. “I have never heard of reconditioning timpani. I don’t know if that can be done.”

The matter was tabled to allow Hiles-Smith an opportunity to research reconditioning the timpani already owned by the school.


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