By BLAIR AMES
The Frederick News-Post
WALKERSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Friday will mark Walkersville High School’s first home playoff football game since 1987, but if you’re a fan of school fight songs, Walkersville’s may be a bit quieter than usual.
With the school’s spring musical being moved to the fall semester due to the music program being cut to one semester, nearly half of the marching band members are scheduled to perform in the musical’s orchestra Friday rather than at the football game.
“I don’t expect much of a halftime show,” said band booster Denny Woolley.
With only 12 of 25 marching band members expected to suit up for the band boosters, parents have been scrambling to track down alumni who may be able to fill in and perform.
Some parents have even volunteered to throw on a jacket and perform, booster Jennifer Smith said.
“It’s been just a bit overwhelming,” she said.
Parent and elementary school music teacher Dan Cheston will play the trumpet alongside his daughter during the game.
Cheston and his daughter were two of 11 musicians practicing Wednesday night in the high school band room. Kirsten Friend, a 2010 graduate, practiced as well and is expected to fill in as a percussionist during the game.
Lynda Forman, band boosters president, said organizing a band for Friday’s game has been “absolutely insane.”
“We are throwing this together at the last minute,” she said.
Walkersville music director Windy Neal’s position was cut to one semester beginning this year because of decreased enrollment in music courses.
In the spring, she will serve as the music director at Catoctin High School, which has been without a music program in the fall, also due to lower enrollment.
Walkersville Middle School musicians have joined their high school counterparts in the stands during games this year, but according to Frederick County Public Schools policy, middle school band members can’t march with the high school, Woolley said.
It’s a policy he has been asking to be overturned since 2006, but to no avail, he said.
Junior tuba player Jeb Cliber said no middle schoolers are expected to play Friday because introducing them to the halftime routine would just add to the confusion.
Fellow marching band members were practicing for the musical Wednesday, but Cliber said while they want to be at the football game, they recognize they’ve made a commitment to the musical, and they’ll honor it.
He will perform with the marching band and believes they’ll find a way to give a good performance.
“We’re small, but mighty,” he said.
Walkersville High Principal Michael Concepcion said postponing the musical production scheduled for Friday would be unfair to the students, staff and volunteers who have been preparing for the event.
“Unfortunately, the play’s performance date was set this summer,” he said in an email. “It also happens that our football
team was fortunate enough to make the post-season and host a home game.”
The musical will occur Friday as scheduled and a music ensemble made up of marching band members will play show tunes in the stands during the game, he said.
They will also perform school spirit songs with the varsity cheerleaders during halftime of the football game, he said.
Concepcion said the situation is a scheduling conflict, not a staffing issue.
“I am comfortable that we gave the matter careful consideration and made the best decision for our musicians, thespians and athletes alike. We get to promote music in both venues,” he said in an email.
Neal said it will be a busy day, but no student will be split between the two events.
“Both events show our dedication to our craft and support the cause of music in the schools,” she said in an email.
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post,
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)