Band required to march after school lets out

Marching+a+final+time%3A+Junior+Emily+Thomas+and+sophomore+Tim+Diamond+perform+last+fall%E2%80%99s+marching+band+show%2C+%E2%80%9CThe+Bridge.%E2%80%9D+Although+the+school+year+ends+May+24%2C+Columbia+Public+Schools+is+requiring+both+the+RBHS+and+Hickman+High+School+bands+to+march+in+the+Memorial+Day+parade+downtown+Monday%2C+May+28.+Photo+by+Rena+Rong

Marching a final time: Junior Emily Thomas and sophomore Tim Diamond perform last fall’s marching band show, “The Bridge.” Although the school year ends May 24, Columbia Public Schools is requiring both the RBHS and Hickman High School bands to march in the Memorial Day parade downtown Monday, May 28. Photo by Rena Rong

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Marching a final time: Junior Emily Thomas and sophomore Tim Diamond perform last fall’s marching band show, “The Bridge.” Although the school year ends May 24, Columbia Public Schools is requiring both the RBHS and Hickman High School bands to march in the Memorial Day parade downtown Monday, May 28. Photo by Rena Rong

Everybody loves a parade, but maybe not as much this year. Although Memorial Day is after the last official day of the school year, RBHS band students will be obligated to perform anyway.

“One reason [RBHS is still in the parade] is that there are no bands anymore without Hickman or Rock Bridge, so that’s kind of a bummer,” band director Stephen Mathews said. “Another reason, too, is that it’s kind of like a payback to the community. It’s a thanks to the community because you have veterans. We want to make veterans, too, feel like they’re appreciated.”

Though students know they are technically required to go, they question whether or not it can actually negatively affect their grade if they don’t attend. Junior Emily Thomas, a flautist, said the lack of academic impact could hurt the performance.

“I honestly don’t think many seniors will actually show up since school will be out, and our grades will already be in,” Thomas said. “The seniors easily make up more than half of the band. I have absolutely no clue how we’re going to sound if most of them decide to bail on the parade.”

Junior Clarke DeLisle, a percussionist, is also unenthusiastic about performing but has accepted having to attend.

“Well, honestly, I’m not really thrilled about it. I understand that parades are one of the more visible performances that the band program does, but it still seems somewhat unnecessary,” DeLisle said. “I guess the main reason that it doesn’t bother me terribly is because it’s just one afternoon, and I don’t feel like it’s worth the fight to not have to do it.”

Seniors especially see little reason to attend. Since grades will be completed, senior Mitchell Taylor, trombonist, is not sure he will go.

“I’m already going to be done with school,” Taylor said. “All my grades will be in at that point and I’ll be graduating; there’s not really anything technically requiring us to go.”

Senior A.J. Roebuck admits his anticipation of finishing high school has affected his views toward the parade.

“I’m mostly just ready to be done with high school and move on to the real world, which makes me less motivated to participate in school sometimes,” Roebuck said. “Since I’m going to be done with high school for good by the time of the parade, I’d honestly rather just spend my summer taking it easy and enjoying my free time before college.”

Although the directors understand the reluctance some students have about playing in the parade, they remain firm in their decision.

“We can’t help that the school calendar has changed, and we want to support the community and the veterans by being in the parade,” Mathews said. “Just because the calendar has changed, we hate to see that there aren’t any bands. Since school is out there’s no requirement as far as a class goes … but what we’re trying to do is encourage the students that are here in town to just show up that morning and do the parade.”

By Grant Peters