The Pikeville Independent Schools District received a grant for thousands of dollars to grow and support its band program.

Scott Bersaglia, band director for the Pikeville Independent Schools District, applied for the grant in order to help purchase band instruments for Pikeville Elementary School and to support the district’s band program. This summer, he received the confirmation letter that the district received the full amount for the grant, totaling $22,500.

“Honestly, my first thought was, ‘Thanks be to God,’” Bersaglia said, referring to the moment he received the letter. “I’m excited to see what comes next and what we can do to grow our program.”

The Steele-Reese Foundation awarded the grant to the Pikeville Independent Schools District. The Foundation supports rural communities in Idaho, Montana, in the Native nations that share those areas and in Appalachian Kentucky.

“I felt like the school really qualified for the grant,” Bersaglia said. “This grant will be geared more for our younger students.”

There are about 60 students in the 7th-12th grade band at Pikeville High School and about 30 students on average who participate in the band for 5th and 6th grade.

Bersaglia said that he believes the school district provides a variety of programs for students who want to participate in the band program, including about five instrumental ensemble classes.

“It’s been a really productive time at Pikeville lately,” Bersaglia said. “The administration and the superintendent have been so supportive of the band program in our district. They’ve approved scheduling changes that have really helped our students be able to participate more in our program. They’ve also allowed me a lot of freedom to make decisions for the benefit of the program.”

Superintendent Jerry Green said the instruments purchased by the grant will help provide opportunities to the district’s elementary students.

“We’re making sure that every student who wants to participate in the band has an instrument to play,” Green said. “There’s a tremendous amount of support for that. Dr. Bersaglia is absolutely phenomenal. We are so blessed to have individuals like him working in our school district.”

Bersaglia said he will evaluate the school district’s band program in light of the grant, particularly in Pikeville Elementary School, and work with other music professors and several colleagues to decide on the instruments that will be purchased.

“I am so humbly proud of what we can accomplish,” Bersaglia said. “It’s so fulfilling to see it all come together.”

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