Kings student donation makes a grand (piano) gesture

Seeking to honor her family, friends and faith, Kings High School sophomore Brooke Howard recently donated a grand piano to her school’s choir department. Brooke is shown here (front center) with choir director Hope Milthaler (seated next to Howard) and the KHS Chamber Choir. CONTRIBUTED
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Seeking to honor her family, friends and faith, Kings High School sophomore Brooke Howard recently donated a grand piano to her school’s choir department. Brooke is shown here (front center) with choir director Hope Milthaler (seated next to Howard) and the KHS Chamber Choir. CONTRIBUTED

Sophomore honors memory of father.

Seeking to honor her family, friends and faith, Kings High School sophomore Brooke Howard recently donated a grand piano to her school’s choir department.

In the summer of 2011 Howard was visiting her father in St. Louis when the unimaginable happened. The then 10-year-old awoke to the sounds of sirens, and moments later a paramedic told her that her father had “gone on to a better place.” He unexpectedly died from aortic heart failure.

Nearly six years later Howard decided to honor her deceased father’s love of music by purchasing the piano for the Kings Music Department with the money he left for her. It was delivered to the school May 17 and named “Howard” in memory of her father.

Howard attends Rivers Crossing Church in Mason, where the congregation is studying the theme of honor in 2017.

“One night I was just laying in bed, and I was trying to take that to heart and figure out who I needed to honor,” she explained, thinking of God, her mom, dad, family, friends and school district. “I was trying to think of way to encompass the majority of those people in one thing I did, and I started thinking the choir program means so much to me.”

The music department’s beloved piano, Bessie, was damaged more than 13 years ago in a storm and won’t hold a tune.

Howard began researching the cost of pianos, and asked her mother and stepfather if she could use the money her father had left her to bless the KHS choir program.

“When Brooke came to me … I was absolutely breathless,” recalled choir director Hope Milthaler. “Nothing of this magnitude as ever happened here in my program. … To be gifted and blessed like this as a program is huge, it’s gigantic, it’s really bigger than all of us.”

Howard said the students in the music department develop close friendships and are like a family.

“This is so special not because of the piano or the fact that this gift will enable us to better create beautiful music but because of the way in which it came about. This is so special because of the overwhelming joy, light and honor that it has, is, and will bring into our lives and the lives of so many others,” she said. “I love this school. I love this community. I love all of these incredible people and opportunities that have been placed in our lives. My life is constantly overflowing with the abundance of love everyone around me has to offer. That is why this happened. That is why this is so special. This really is a dream. God is good.”

Milthaler said she was moved by Howard’s demonstration of faith.

“Brooke has, as a sophomore in high school, faith beyond what many of us achieve in adulthood. The most important thing to her through all of this is that God be given all the glory — that it was his nudging, the memory of her father and the call to honor,” she said. “It’s not about a piano; it’s about the mighty faith, selflessness and humility of a young lady on mission to spread love, light and joy on an exponential level.”

Contact this contributing writer at lisa.knodel@gmail.com.

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