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East Grand Forks band marches on despite missing equipment

Mike Kolness1 / 2
Mike Kolness2 / 2

The band marches on at East Grand Forks Senior High after a couple of instruments and some important equipment went missing over the summer.

Superintendent Mike Kolness said Wednesday the school still is trying to uncover the mystery and, so far, has not involved police.

“We’re still investigating. We’re trying to figure out what happened,” Kolness said.

He clarified that an earlier rumor stating all of the band uniforms and instruments were missing was not true. The uniforms were being cleaned over the summer, and the missing instruments involved a piccolo and an electric guitar. Also missing were the lyres — which hold sheet music for the marching band — along with some brass mouthpieces, amps cords and personal items of the band teacher.

“It was unfortunate timing, especially with the Potato Bowl Parade,” Kolness said. “They only had three days of school, and they didn’t have that equipment, so it was tough to prepare. It was an unfortunate thing they were not marching in the parade. It’s something they enjoy doing, and they do a great job each year.”

The equipment first was discovered missing in late August when band teacher Stacey Searle was setting up her brand-new band classroom after major construction had taken place over the summer. Last spring, she had stored several items in the band pit of the school’s Performing Arts Center.

Kolness said teachers and administrators at first thought the equipment might have been moved by workers or cleaners, but so far they have searched “high and low” with no results.

Kolness said he could not immediately estimate the value of the missing equipment, and he has not involved an insurance company yet.

“There was a lot of cleaning going on in our Performing Arts Center over the summer with the construction. There were a lot of cleaning crews,” he said. “It’s possible it could have been thrown out, but I can’t confirm that. I wish I could. It’s an unfortunate incident that we are going to try to resolve.”

Kolness said he did not want to jump to any conclusion that the items were stolen. He did say he believed the piccolo was in a case and the guitar was in a soft case.