Our opinion: Let’s band together
Strike up the band.
No, seriously, strike up an all-Warren County band.
We’ve had countless articles about the consolidation of programs in the Warren County School District — due to the size of schools, size of teams, the size of our wallets. And it always seems to have a negative connotation.
Why not turn that frown upside down?
In the case of bands, marching bands and/or competition bands in the district — at Warren Area High School, Eisenhower High School, Sheffield High School and, the crown jewel of competition bands, at Youngsville High School — why can’t consolidate become a positive word?
As in building a “super band,” if you will. Rather, consolidate into one Warren County School District band.
It would have its detractors. I mean, Youngsville’s is already considered a premiere band, winning competitions, and having traveled as far as Ireland to perform in a parade.
“We are on a $25,000 silver cup in Ireland” … “the University of Missouri, the University of Illinois, Youngsville High School,” Youngsville band director Cindy Scheid told the school board in May. “That’s a legacy that I don’t want to see die.”
What if the legacy grows, along with the band.
The school board — back then — was discussing consolidation due to the low numbers in bands at Sheffield (12) and Eisenhower (11) in 2017.
Dozens showed up to fight the consolidation of bands.
One person said 80 percent of the Sheffield marching band members would not participate if the program were moved to Warren.
But what if it wasn’t moved to Warren? What if all four high school bands combined, again, to form a “super band?” That band would represent Youngsville High School, Eisenhower High School, Sheffield High School, and Warren Area High School. It would represent Warren County.
“Look at any online poll or list of The Best College Marching Bands in America and I assure you that most of the bands listed, if not all, will be well over 200 members,” according to Ernest Stackhouse of blockusup.com, slugged “The meeting place for band fans… and directors.”
The article is titled “Is bigger better? Can a small band ever really be the ‘best band?'”
Let’s put it this way: Not only can a county “super band” be done, it can flourish.
This year’s numbers include a pretty healthy sum of 39 at Warren Area High School, 24 at Youngsville High School, 20 at Sheffield High School, and 17 at Eisenhower High School — this is from eighth-grade on up.
A closer look shows Warren has 18 seniors, five juniors, six sophomores, five freshmen, and five eighth-graders.
This might be the perfect time to consolidate there.
The “super band” could rotate to different football games, with individual music instruction still happening at each student’s high school, and practices even rotating after school.
Each school could keep its respective band directors and they could collaborate on the “super band.”
Imagine the possibilities.
Imagine the potential.
Imagine the sound.
Now, we get that it wouldn’t be an overnight success. While Youngsville is already successful, that competitive program could pave the way for the rest.
The reality here is a 100-member band would certainly sound a lot better than a 17-member band in the long run…
And what an education.
We wouldn’t be losing bands, but gaining a “super band.”
The point is to bring all the high school bands to a higher level. If you want to call that Youngsville’s level, then so be it.
If we’re going to do it, let’s do it soon. The sounds are getting fainter.
If we build it, it will sound amazing.