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Where’s our band?

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 22, 2004

“Where’s our band?” Many students asked this question in the Notre Dame Student section at Michigan State this past Saturday. Maybe they should ask Kevin White, head of the athletic department. As members of the marching band, we had to ask why we were not traveling the two and a half hour drive to Michigan State University. The answer simply comes down to money. The athletic department has continually failed to financially support a staple of the Notre Dame football tradition: the band. There were rumors that the opening of the Performing Arts Center would interfere with the bands ability to travel on Saturday. However, there was no performance scheduled for the band on Saturday. In fact many band members found tickets and our own transportation to East Lansing because we had an unusual free Saturday.

The band continually sacrifices its time not only for regular rehearsals, but also for other University events including the opening of the PAC and football luncheons, to name a couple. We love to lend our support to the athletic department and University, but is the support being returned? At the end of last year each member of the band received a $25 gift certificate, from the athletic department, to a local restaurant. Although we enjoyed our free dinners, every member of the band would rather have saved the money for a trip to an away game. If the athletic department had saved the $9000 they spent on our gift certificates, they could have used that money to help reduce the overall travel expense of the band. The band will be traveling with the team to Tennessee, but this is only possible with fundraising and the support of generous donors. If Notre Dame is one family, why is the band being left behind?

If the athletic department had their way, they would pop in a tape for the Star Spangled Banner for pregame, and another one for the Clog and Victory March after the team scores. They would do this just to make money by not having the expense of the band and selling our seats to paying fans.

We do appreciate the availability of the Loftus facility for our rehearsals and other accommodations the athletic department and University makes for the band. It just perplexes us, however, that the University of Southern California band has always been able to make the trip out to South Bend, but we have not made to trip to USC.

So, where was the band last Saturday? Some of us were at the game; some watched the game on North Quad; and some in our dorm rooms and apartments; but not as a whole band like it was in 2002 at Michigan State University. We just hope that a few years from now students will not be asking, “where’s our band?” while sitting in the student section in Notre Dame Stadium.

Nicole Thaner

LeMans

junior

Chris Nichol

Holy Cross College

junior

Sept. 21