Woods Cross High School's marching band, one of the best in the Western United States, may be disbanded.
Begun in 1977 by music teacher Stephen H. Richins, the 150-member band, which includes flag, rifle and other auxiliaries, has chalked up top trophies every year in national and Utah competitions and has been a consistent winner in many Canadian contests.However, dwindling interest on the part of students to dedicate their time and energy to the band, increasing demands on band instructors and rising costs of maintaining a band have caused school officials to consider doing away with the band and having only jazz, wind, symphonic and percussion groups and an advanced placement music program at Woods Cross.
School officials have sent questionnaires to 155 potential band students-- not including auxiliary members-- asking them to vote on one of three options.
The first is to do away with the marching band and have only a pep band that would perform at some athletic events.
The second is to have a school marching band, but one that would not compete and would only march in local parades. The fee to students to have such a band would be from $95 to $140, depending on whether they are coming into the band from junior high or are already in the band.
The final option is to continue the competitive marching band. This will cost students a fee of between $170 and $220. In addition to the money, students who vote to have a competitive marching band must promise to commit their time and efforts this summer to be in parades and contests.
School officials said they should know whether to go ahead and disband the competitive marching band or keep it by the first week in May. They said they will have to have the students' band fees by mid-June.
Principal Wally Hawkins said the money will be used to build a staff to support Richins and pay for other expenses through the summer and through the 1988-1989 school year.
"In addition to that money, a full-blown competitive marching band will mean $8,000 to $15,000 for new or refurbished band uniforms. So we'll have to have a few fund drives during the year."
Any out-of-state trips will mean additional costs to students, he said.
"If we get the commitment, we'll continue our band," Hawkins said. "If not, we will still have many wonderful instrumental music programs at Woods Cross, a band, orchestra and individual instrumental groups, and the groups can still compete with other schools."
Three weeks ago, school officials sent parents of band students a letter saying the competitive marching band would be totally disbanded. Hawkins said Richins had commitments from only 55 students who wanted to be in a marching band.
"He looked around, weighed the time, trouble and cost of having a competitive marching band, and figured it just wasn't going to work another year.
"A marching band costs a lot of money to build and maintain. Some schools that are top contenders are spending many thousands of dollars on their marching bands, buying uniforms and equipment, paying advisers and staff members and traveling, and we felt it just wasn't worth it for only 55 students."
He said so many parents complained about the letter that he met with booster club members to rethink the band issue and then held a meeting at the school Monday night to talk with band students, their parents and others.
"We decided to send out the questionnaires and give students and parents a chance to think about the commitment they will have to make if they want a marching band, especially a competitive marching band."