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Band doing its best

Letter to the editor | Tuesday, December 5, 2006

As a band alumnus, I was a bit upset when I read the Nov. 29 letter to the editor titled “Band Often Overlooked.” Truthfully, the line that upset me the most was, “If the band wants to be thought of as so important to school spirit then I think the band should understand their responsibility.” Being a devout Notre Dame football and band fan, I understand the sentiment that was portrayed in the article, but I believe this statement crossed the line.

Based on personal experience, I know that all the band members wish that they could travel to all the away games – and especially the big games – but the money is just not there to support such big trips across the country. With over 350 members in the band, it would be a huge financial burden on the band program to support this costly trip to Los Angeles since the funding is not provided by the football program, but by donors and “fundraisers” like selling CDs, T-shirts and the like. Usually, the band only has enough funds to travel to one away game. Some years, the band is lucky enough to travel to two games, but one is always a close game like Michigan, Michigan State or Purdue. When I was a student, the only away trips, other than bowl games, that we traveled to were Pittsburgh and Florida State, both of which we drove to by bus.

The band knows their responsibility and they show their loyalty by volunteering hours of their time every week, spending over ten hours every football saturday preparing for the game and supporting the team and fans. Band members do not do what they do for money or credits, but for the love of music and Notre Dame football (they do not receive any scholarships and only receive one credit for their time and effort).

Therefore, before you blame the administration or the band for not traveling to every big game, please keep in mind that the band does its best to travel to as many trips as finances allow them to and that the band takes its responsibility to the team and to the fans very seriously.

Francine Barley


Class of 2004

Nov. 29