The Ironwood Band Community Foundation (The IBCF) emerged from the already vibrant Ironwood music program and became an independent 501(c)(3) in the Spring of 2014. Its mission is to support the Ironwood Music Program and the music programs of its local middle schools. The IBCF partners with like-minded organizations, businesses, and government entities to create and support a vibrant Music and Arts program for the students and community.
With its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Ironwood High School attracts some of the best and brightest students in the West Valley. Many are already musicians, and these gifted students thrive in the challenging and structured environment created by formal music education. Ironwood’s rigorous music program teaches students lessons that lead to a lifetime of success, such as the value of self-discipline, teamwork, goal setting, and achievement. It also gives many students opportunities for leadership, and all students get to travel and perform before large groups.
Six middle schools in Glendale provide the majority of Ironwood's students and receive special attention from the IBCF. However, our mandate is to help all students grow in their musical abilities regardless of their location or school affiliation. We do this by reaching out to music directors, discovering their needs, and working to find the resources to help their programs grow. We also host a music skills camp for rising 6th through 8th graders each summer that is open to any student with at least one year of music instruction.
The IBCF strives to maximize the potential of music education to help the greatest number of children. Numerous studies document the many ways music education helps children develop skills and habits that benefit them for life. Participation in band programs has been proven to:
• Stimulate brain growth and raise IQ. • Convey physical benefits such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure. • Improve mood and increase positive social growth. • Teach life skills such as cooperation, teamwork, and leadership. • Grow healthy habits such as discipline and hard work. • Instill the ability to perform under pressure.
Music programs are expensive, and public funding for the Arts has been drastically reduced in recent years. The national conversation has turned to standardized testing, and funding tends to go toward technological initiatives. But as we focus on students’ future job prospects and earning potential, we risk losing the very programs which make them successful as human beings. That is why we are passionate about music education: it develops the whole person and equips students for a lifetime of success.
In order for music programs to excel, students need many forms of support: quality instruments to play, volunteers from the community, and experiences that will challenge and reward them. Our support begins with purchasing quality instruments. Even used instruments can cost thousands of dollars, and most families cannot afford them. If students are going to have instruments in which they can take pride, someone has to provide the funds to purchase them. Even though our public school entities do what they can, the new reality is Music and Arts Programs must be resourceful and maintain an ongoing and robust fundraising effort if they are going to have consistent and adequate funding.
Our support continues off the field and outside of class with social and emotional support for the students. Life can be hard, and many kids today lack adequate support systems. The temptation to escape into drugs, alcohol and sex are the drumbeat of modern society. But we literally march to the beat of a different drum. Band is a second family for our musicians: a safe place to be themselves with lots of support during the tough times and plenty of people to cheer them on to success.
Finally, the IBCF supports the “band community” which includes the music programs at Ironwood’s feeder schools as well as other interested students and organizations in the community. Our long-term plan is to provide leadership training and community service opportunities to the students. Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we are making a real difference in the lives of some of the best and brightest citizens of Arizona: our children.
Thank you for your interest in the IBCF. We hope you will join us!