Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's a Shame This School Is Losing Its Pride

I read about this on my fraternity listserv last night: Duquesne University is getting rid of its marching band:
Mr. Greg Amodio, the Athletic Director at Duquesne University, has decided to eliminate the marching band in favor of a seated pep band. This message was delivered to the Director of Athletics Bands and Spirit Teams, Mrs. Elisabeth Heath-Charles, on the afternoon/evening of June 1st by a staff member of the Athletic Department. Mr. Amodio was out of the office at the time of notification preventing Mrs. Charles from meeting with him. Mrs. Charles was also informed that the department had been discussing this step for months. It is also interesting that this decision was announced after school was out for the semester. It is distressing that this decision was announced after school let out for the semester, preventing opportunities for students to voice their concerns.
Read the whole story (and sign an online petition if you want) at savethepride.com.

Those of you who know me personally are aware that I often credit marching band for the reason that I never became a band director. While this is true, I've also noted before that I have a great deal of respect for the medium even as I realize that I wouldn't be a good teacher of it. And I'm also a huge football fan who believes that football without marching band is like a burger without fries. As odd as it may seem to some that the university across town has a marching band with no football team, doing the exact opposite would be almost unthinkable.

It also surprised me that the marching band was under the control of the athletic director in the first place. Poking around for just a second on Duquesne's website, I noticed that the school does in fact offer an instrumental music education degree. Seeing as how marching band is almost always an integral component of that degree, shouldn't that organization be subsumed by the school of music instead of just eliminated outright?

As a music educator, it distresses me to see any arts organization be eliminated, especially by the axe of budget cuts. Reducing, say, a 150-piece marching band to a 40-piece pep band (I'm just guessing on the numbers, but you get the idea) means that 110 people may not get a chance to participate in a musical activity in college, and to me, that's just not right. Sign the petition and leave some comments with your entry if you agree.

In happier musical news: Joshua Redman is now blogging at his recently-redesigned site.

And some happy local news: Garland is getting its first full-service hotel (there's also been rumblings about a Kinko's and an IHOP in the same area, both of which are badly needed out here).

A music store worker's nightmare: "Smoke on the Water" as played by over 1680 guitarists.

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