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Middle school may drop marching band

May 15, 2000|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

CLEAR SPRING - Eliminating Clear Spring Middle School's marching band program next fall would benefit students by making them better musicians, according to Dennis Wine, the middle school's band director.

Wine told parents at a Clear Spring Band Booster meeting Monday that many middle school students don't have the strength and coordination to march, carry their instruments and play well at the same time.

Clear Spring Middle School Principal Roger Stenersen is considering canceling the marching band program. A decision will be made in the next few weeks.

Eliminating the marching band would allow students to perfect the fundamentals, Wine said. Then, when they enter high school, they would be able to perform in a marching band at a greater skill level, he said.

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"I'm not opposed to marching band," but students need to develop musicianship and technique, Wine said.

He said preparing for marching band performances is time consuming and limits the students range of musical selections.

Clear Spring Elementary School shut down its instrumental program four years ago and many band parents believe it was the beginning of the end for the school's music curriculum.

"It's just something else we're giving up," said Sandie Michael who is the parent of three Clear Spring student musicians.

She said the students enjoy marching and take pride in their performances.

Michael said band students need to start marching at an early age to perfect their skills.

"It frightens me to think what they are going to be like when they've had no (marching band) experience before ninth grade," she said.

Another parent expressed fear that students would lose interest in playing an instrument before getting to high school if marching band were discontinued at the middle school. Wine said the band students would have three years in high school to hone their marching band skills and that should be sufficient.

"We have to decide what should come first and I think it should be musical education. When they get to high school they can march, wear uniforms and take trips," said Wine.

Parent Nancy Lucas said she disagrees that middle school students can't excel musically while participating in marching band and believes they will be missing out.

Stenersen said he will consult other school officials before making a decision that will be a difficult one.

"The greatest frustration is that this (marching band) is part of our culture, our community, our pride. And it's not easy for us to give that up," said Stenersen.

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