ELGIN — The popularity of music with Caribbean and African ties is likely to continue increasing in the Elgin School District.

The Elgin School Board voted Monday evening to approve a $30,000 purchase of a set of steel drums for the high school’s Calypso band. The band, which is growing in size, plays music with Caribbean and African roots.

The Calypso band is one of four in the school district, which also has a high school, middle school and a sixth-grade band. Elgin School District Superintendent Dianne Greif said the number of students taking band has jumped 14 percent in the past year.

“More and more students want to take band. It is important that we have enough instruments available to them,” Greif said.

The addition of the steel drums will enhance the Calypso band and in turn help the band program continue to expand.

“It is a way to keep the program growing by giving it more exposure,” Greif said.

The drums will be purchased with a portion of the $100,000 the school board voted to appropriate for additional expenditures in the current 2017-18 fiscal year for the school district.

The school board also voted to approve the expenditure of between $35,000 and $40,000 for a new tractor for the district.

“It will make a lot of jobs easier for us,” Greif said.

The school district needs a new tractor primarily to remove snow. Greif said the design of the current tractor does not allow for a snow blower to be hooked up to it, unlike the new tractors the school district is looking at.

The tractor could pay for itself quickly since the school district spent $35,000 on snow removal in the winter of 2016-17, Greif said.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer

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