Here’s a veteran band director’s perspective around bands performing at basketball games (letter, March 8).

People think that a high school band can be picked up and placed wherever desired, but no — it’s a group of kids whose academic or personal issues impact performance. Also, the band cannot perform during the game, and halftime is for cheerleaders. The band must play before the game starts, between the quarters and when the game is over.

Is it smart to pay for an extra bus to Bangor, four hours travel for fifteen minutes of music? What a waste.

Meanwhile, the director is being held by the state to increasingly higher standards. Band students have four years to acquire an understanding of 500 years of Western music, plus gain proficiency on their instruments. So which great composer is removed from the curriculum to make room for basketball music? Substitute Lady Gaga for Gustav Holst? Shania Twain for Tchaikovsky? Is that the music education we want for our children?

Also, does the band have the scheduling and financial support required for success? Is there a quality feeder program with sufficient music educators and budgets? If the answer is “no,” then those who want to see the band at basketball games should stop complaining and start supporting the band.

Do they attend as many band concerts as basketball games? Do they  vote for school budgets that provide the band with the funding it needs?

Unless they support the band, it’s just not going to be there.

John Neal, Greene


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