I read with interest Wynelle Purceli’s letter to the editor comments in the 5 May 2007 edition of the Bryan County News regarding the RHHS band and its director. I would like to offer a couple of thoughts.
There is an assertion that the RHHS band was invited to Washington, D.C. by chance and that somehow the band didn’t earn this opportunity. How bands are invited to play at special events is considerably different than other school organizations. There are no regional or state tournaments for bands in Georgia. Instead bands are recognized by outstanding performance at individual competitions with each competition standing on its own. Last spring, the RHHS bands performed and were rated the best overall at a regional competition in Atlanta. This performance along with other outstanding ratings during the fall marching season is what landed the RHHS band on the national radar. The point is simply this. Georgia bands are not able to obtain recognition through a single event or tournament. Rather, recognition is EARNED through sustained and continued excellence. If it was so simple to get a nomination to play for the National Anthem Project at Washington, D.C., why weren’t there other schools in our area raising their hands indicating they were invited too? Also, while we were clear that First Lady Laura Bush was the chairperson of the National Anthem Project, the boosters were very consistent in indicating the performance was part of a larger group (perhaps the largest group ever to perform the National Anthem) that would be performing on the Washington Mall.
There is also an assertion that the band director and booster parents did a disservice by bringing this matter to the attention of the public. There is no doubt a risk was taken in making this matter public and only time will tell whether the director was harmed by this action. Nevertheless, the director was willing to take that risk. Doesn’t such an action speak volumes about a teacher’s commitment to his students and the program as a whole?
Klebe is president of the RHHS band boosters.