Updated: 05/07/2014 11:18 PM
Created: 05/07/2014 10:49 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts
Investigators say their music teacher stole their instruments and sold them for drug money, but on Wednesday, the students of the Keshequa High School band took the stage.
“We’re ready to give our best, and we moved past this quick. We just want to give the audience out there a good performance, so that’s what we’re focused on tonight,” said Tim Carlin, a senior saxophone player.
Police say Danielle Conner-Willowglade admitted to stealing 50 instruments from the school back in March and pawning them for drug money, but students rose above the challenge and performed their first concert since their teacher was arrested.
“It’s in the past. It’s behind us and we’re going to move on,” said Keshequa Superintendent Donald Covell.
Covell says school officials aren’t pressing charges against Willowglade, but one parent disagrees with that decision.
“If she took the instruments, and then told the kids they didn’t return them, she was calling them liars. She needs to apologize to those children,” said Debbie, a parent.
Keshequa High was able to perform their concert tonight thanks to donated instruments from community members and by fixing up old, out of service school instruments.
“Instruments, money, benefits and there’s going to be another benefit in June. It has just been overwhelming, in a really good way,” said Board of Education President Anita Buchinger.
“It’s the spring concert, and there was no doubt in our minds that it was going to happen,” said Peggy Colombo, a parent.
Wednesday’s concert ended with a hug between the students and their band director, Tim Holtz, who stepped in after Willowglade was arrested.
“They always do a good job, but given the circumstances, it’s nice to see them continue to do well,” said Andrea Zeh.
According to the band director, 20 of the stolen instruments have been recovered. He hopes the school will get them back once the police have finished their investigation.