Still can't decide what to give your school for Christmas? Here's something the Davis School District could really use: musical instruments.

As more and more students enroll in band and orchestra programs - 5 percent more this year than last - the district is finding itself in a dearth of trumpets, trombones, tubas, cellos, bassoons and other band instruments."Anything can be used," said Richard Marsden, district music director, who said music enrollment is up 5 percent this year over last year.

"Thirty-eight percent of our high school students and 47 percent of junior high student bodies participate in band classes," Marsden said. That amounts to approximately 8,900 students who need instruments.

Yet the district owns only 2,594 instruments, said Roger Glines, district business administrator.

"The district-owned instruments don't go far enough to meet (student) needs," Marsden said. "We don't want to sound like we're opposed to the (growth) and we're trying to compensate."

In the short-term, students are sharing instruments from class to class. On a rotating basis, students take instruments home for practice, Marsden said.

The district wasn't aware of the seriousness of the shortages, which vary from school to school, until an inventory of instruments was taken over the summer.

In addition to finding there were a lot more students than instruments, the district learned that 67 of its instruments - valued at a total of $33,000 - were missing.

Many instruments have been lost through the "traveling teacher" program, which has since been restructured to prevent further losses, Marsden said.

Students may have become confused about which school the instruments are supposed to go to. Some students have simply graduated and gone on to other things, forgetting they have one of the district's clarinets in their closet.

To recover the missing-in-action instruments, the district is offering its first-ever "amnesty period" during December and January in which students or parents can return the instruments to the district or local school with "no questions asked."

"What we're basically asking is that if someone has one sitting at home, for whatever reason, if they'd just return that, we'd be very grateful," Marsden said.

Those patrons interested in donating their own instruments to the district, they can do so directly to the school or through the Davis School District Foundation if they desire a tax write-off.

Anyone with questions can call Marsden, 451-1115.