"YOU ARE THE MUSIC WHILE THE MUSIC LASTS" - High School Band Fading, Funding And Scheduling Creates Crunch

By Bob Weaver

Where words fail, music speaks - Hans Christian Andersen

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words
and that which cannot remain silent
- Victor Hugo

Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us -Unknown

Without music, life is a journey through a desert - Pat Conroy

You are the music while the music lasts - T. S. Eliot

All the sounds of the earth are like music - Oscar Hammerstein

The Calhoun Red Devil Marching Band has been working hard at band camp these past two weeks, with about 30 members, which includes twirlers.

"This year's members have been catching on quickly," said Band Director Harry Beall. "It's always a lot of hard work, but it has always been worth it."

"They are a great bunch of kids. Full of energy," Beall said.

Band Director Harry Beall says rural bands are fading fast

Beall sadly acknowledged that high school bands are dying, mostly victims to the state's funding formula and scheduling.

The value of music education is being questioned like never before.

"The greatest loss will be for kids," he said.

It is difficult to imagine not having a high school band at sporting and special events.

Under No Child Left Behind there is increased demand for basics: English, math, and science - and a significant focus on computer competency.

Music and arts programs will not be the only victims of funding problems, but all extra curricular activities including sports programs are at risk.

County school enrollment has dropped 342 pupils since the new $16 million Calhoun-Middle High School opened in 1998-1999. Enrollment has dropped 555 students since school year 1984-85.

The county Board of Education has declared crunch time for the system, which is being challenged to provide basic services and mandated curriculum.

An operating levy is being considered and a public meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday in the high school auditorium.

Governor Bob Wise attempted to pass legislation this year to distribute special funding to rural counties for teachers and programs being threatened by the state's school funding formula.

Wise's proposal died in the water.