I'm a McPherson native who has since moved, and when I look back to my childhood in McPherson, I think about a lot of the unique experiences I had, especially in high school. I learned valuable skills, made close friends and had a lot of fun in many activities, but none more so than band. Band was a welcoming and tight-knit environment where we learned discipline, commitment, and leadership. It was (and still is) a fantastic and growing program that provides countless students with opportunities.
That is why I am ashamed at the recent action taken by the school board to mandate that pep band be required. For those McPhersonites who only see our high school band at basketball games, it is easy to forget that band students have more important commitments than pep band. When I was in high school, I loved going to pep band because it was fun, but it didn't advance my understanding of music whatsoever. If citizens believe the band program's only purpose is to provide entertainment during timeouts at a basketball game, then they miss the entire point.
Band students learn how to read and perform beautiful pieces of work. They learn the skills of marching during football season, and fine tune their abilities as artists when they practice classical music for concert performances. Pep band is just a fun way to play music, and it should be low on the list of priorities for both the band and for parents.
Second, the school board sets a clear double standard. According to this action, it is permissible to force students to attend basketball games, all because 12 people complained. If 12 people complained that there were not enough students and band performances, or at high school theater productions, or at debate matches, the school board would brush their concerns under the rug. It is unfair and biased, and the school board knows it.
Ultimately, this discussion is about students. We all want to see a successful basketball team, but should we also want to see a successful band program? It's time that the school board stop kowtowing to a few vocal and angry parents, and actually show that they support music and the arts. If the school board refuses to reverse this decision, then I strongly encourage the band to boycott all sporting events until this unfair and prejudiced decision is reversed.
— Robb Krehbiel, former McPherson resident