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The day the music died

August 27, 2013 - Michael Palmer
The lyrics in the song 'American Pie' by Don McLean talk about the day the music died. Well that day has come for three local high school marching bands, Beallsville, Monroe Central and River. It is no secret that the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District is in dire financial trouble. In November, Switzerland will put yet another levy on the ballot. Since their other levies have failed to pass, the school board has had to take drastic measures which includes cutting insurance, cutting positions, adding on fees for athletes to play sports and eliminating the band from high school football.

If you read our Saturday Sports section you are familiar with the back page of the section that we call "Friday Night Lights" which features the support players for football. The band and flag corps are a big part of that page. Deservedly so, because they put in lots of hard work and dedication to perform their half time entertainment, bleacher anthems and of course the fight songs.

Ask a St. John Central fan if they would like to have a band to play their fight song at football games, most would agree that it is a tradition that is as much a part of football as cheerleaders, chain gangs and concession stands.

Some make the point that with the schools struggling just to keep the doors open this issue is not a primary concern. One coach told me that if the levy did not pass either this November or next spring that sports would disappear quickly in the district, even football. So perhaps they make a valid point, but I am still going to miss the bands, however small they might have been.

I leave you with the immortal words of the bard:

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume While the sergeants played a marching tune We all got up to dance Oh, but we never got the chance

'Cause the players tried to take the field The marching band refused to yield Do you recall what was revealed The day the music died?


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