Time constraints, cost limit band performance time at Providence Bowl

Lauren Puckett

Junior Adriane Replogle performs at a football game. Photo by Marissa Soumokil
Yesterday, Sept. 20, a group of marching band students stormed into the Activities Office. There, they met with Dr. Jennifer Mast, athletics director, complaining their hard work would not be seen.
Each day the band builds more of its show as it works toward its competition season. At present members have put together 74 sets, but because of time restraints during halftime, band will only perform 41 sets  at the Providence Bowl.
Mast said Missouri State High School Activities Association requires halftimes of football games to be no more than 20 minutes, although they push it at the Providence Bowl, Mast said.
Administrators at Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools have agreed to feature both bands during halftime regardless of which team is considered “home.” Mast said with five home games the Bruins are in town more “than any season in recent memory.”
“When you go to Faurot field it becomes the Providence Bowl instead of just a Friday night football game,” Mast said.
Still, she is not unsympathetic to the band’s desire to perform in front of such a large hometown crowd.
” I can completely understand how [the RBHS marching band] would want to do their entire show because they’re very proud of it, and they should be,” Mast said. “However, it’s a community event. And it’s a Columbia Public Schools event. And Columbia Public Schools wants to showcase both their bands in that 15,000-people stadium. … Both bands get seven minutes. It’s completely equal.”
Though many band students are frustrated, Mast says there’s really nothing that can be done. Renting Faurot Field for the Providence Bowl remains expensive, with a price tag of $10,000, she said, and the only way to pay for those dues is through advertising and commercials.
“There are businesses that pay that rent.  But the turnaround there is that they get advertising and time,” Mast said. ” If we put our band out there with their whole show, there would be no time at all for Hickman’s band, and very little time for any of the other stuff that has to happen … to pay the bills. We can’t play that game at Faurot without those sponsors.”
Because the Providence Bowl is later in the season than it was last year, band members have learned more of their show than anticipated, and therefore have more that they could potentially perform. But because the marching band must share halftime with the Hickman marching band and Kelly Sports advertising breaks for sponsors, they only get to perform seven minutes.
It’s “frustrating because we’ve worked hard to get this far, and they’re just like, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, in front of everyone in Columbia, you can’t play what you’ve learned’,” said senior band member and mellophone Aaron Meyers.
Band students wanted to see if administrators could lengthen halftime, or if RBHS could have more time than Hickman to perform, seeing as they are the home team for the game. But Mast says this would be an unfair way to schedule the game, and there still wouldn’t be enough time for the RBHS band to finish their show.
Mast says the time limit set during halftime is  “not negotiable” and the time allotted for the show was “never cut off,” as the band has never been able to perform their entire show.  She noted the Bruin Girls, who typically perform during halftime at regular home games, and the Hickman dance team will perform before the game.
“The reason why this is new this year [is because] the past couple of years the Providence Bowl has been our first game,” Assistant Band Director Bob Thalhuber said. “So both high schools have … maybe just their opener by then, so no one ever thought it would be a problem, but there are regulations through MSHSAA that say half-time can only be so long.”
Though each high school band gets equal playing time, Bruin band members worry because they say some of their sections are receiving significant time cuts.
“All of the brass, except for the sousaphones, have specially designed color guard work,” Meyers said, “and we don’t get to do any of that, because it would be too much stuff.”
Senior band member Grant Flakne stepped in to reiterate the frustration he feels.
“And we lose the entire percussion feature,” Flakne said. “I know that’s irritating to a lot of the drum line, because we’ve been working on that since the drum line mini camp since before band camp itself.”
What do you think about the halftime show? Should both schools share the spotlight?
By Lauren Puckett
additional reporting Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj and Alyssa Sykuta