A group of freshmen from Frisco ISD’s Lebanon Trail High School are giving new life to discarded and donated items, while spreading their love for music around the globe.
The band and orchestra students, who call themselves the “Second Chance Band,” are transforming unwanted junk into musical instruments to inspire children in Frisco and far beyond.
The five teenagers used old odds and ends – including a toilet seat, part of a ceiling fan, clock frame, kitchen sinks, paint pans, shower curtains, picture frames, forks and more – to make drums, violins and a trumpet that will be donated to orphanages in Latin America, as well as a refugee camps in the Middle East. They also refurbished old and broken instruments that were donated to support the cause.
The “upcycling” project is part of the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national STEM competition where students in grades 6-12 create practical solutions to address environmental issues.
The students – Wail Aldahni, Abigail Love, Kylie Mannan, Avery Sinnathamby and Arvind Subramanian – have already won $10,000 through the contest, under the direction of their Spanish teacher Kimberly Church. Their regional project “Watt’s Up Frisco” helped raise awareness about ways Frisco ISD students, teachers and administrators could save energy in FISD schools.
Now, to win the $30,000 national prize, the group turned to music – their shared passion and interest as members of the Lebanon Trail band and orchestra.
Their idea is to give a second chance to items that would otherwise wind up in a landfill, and also to introduce music to needy children who might not otherwise get the opportunity to play. The students also created videos to demonstrate how others can build instruments from everyday discarded and found items, increasing the impact of their efforts.
“We wanted to spread awareness and show the world that no matter your age or capability, you can do great things,” Aldahni said. “We knew we could use our knowledge to make something for these kids.”
The group was inspired by the Landfill Harmonic, a group of young musicians from Paraguay who became a worldwide phenomenon after making instruments from items found in a landfill.
“We wanted to go back to the basics with an out-of-the box approach,” Sinnathamby explained. “Anyone can replicate the concept. We truly believe this project will make a lasting social impact because one man’s trash is another child’s future.”
The Second Chance Band took their work on the road to the Frisco branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County the week of February 28 – March 3.
The group worked with after-school students to build drums out of objects like paint cans, Styrofoam, tarp and x-ray film, before leading students in music lessons. The students hope to inspire fellow Frisco ISD band and orchestra students to volunteer their time leading similar lessons at the Boys & Girls Club.