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May 19, 2009 - 5:45pm

Pageant of Bands - A Thing of the Past

posted by Bea McManis in Pageant of Bands.

The Batavia Board of Education has put a lid on one of the most colorful events the city of Batavia hosts each year.

The Board cites the concern for the cost to other schools to bus their bands to Batavia for the three day event.  They cite concerns for the boosters who put in hours raising money for this event and for their participation during the event.  They replaced it with a poorly advertised Jazz competition which was already held.

I wonder if the Board will take those same concerns into consideration when it comes to sporting events.  The cost to the Board for the use of the stadium; the transportation costs incurred by other schools to bring teams here; the hours the sports' boosters log to support the team.

The Music program deserves better.  The children who studied under Neil Hartwick and Ken Hay received a life-long skill.  They have the ability to use that skill well into their golden age.  How many, on the football field, can say the same thing?  They deserve a showcase for their talent. 

How many readers remember marching in the Pageant of Bands?

Karen Miconi
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Pagaent of Bands doesn't need to be a thing of the past. How much could it cost to bring the kids on a bus to Batavia?? The only thing they need are uniforms. I'm sure the parents of these talented students wouldn't mind pitching in, in support of their child. In my opinion there is no excuse for the pagaent to be nixed. I say get it going again. It gives our kids incentive to learn to play an instrument. They learn pride in themselves, and how to master something. I will gladly pay an extra 50 bucks to see them compete again. I have a video of the last Pageant of Batavia marching. The determination in them is wonderful, and their conductor, John Falkowski is great with them. BRING BACK THE PAGAENT!! I have a video, but it is not a youtube video. I don't think I can download it on here. Can I Howard?
Thomas Mooney
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Why are we attacking the sports program Mrs. McManis? If you read the article than you should know that the pagent was scrapped due to lack of support from competing schools . Are we really going to spend tax payers money for an event that doesn't draw enough competitors to make it worth while . That is property tax dollers to close down Main Street ( City workers overtime to do this ) along with City police officers .I can not remember a time that any sport has asked for such special treatment . As far as life lessons go , I agree that there are many to made through the music department . But doesn't this not happen anyways with or without the pagent of the bands .I do know for a fact that sports in general give many life lessons to youth without marching down main street. Also I do not know of any sports booster member not willing log in those hours that you made sound like was a burden to them .
Bea McManis
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I didn't make it sound like a burden. The BOE made it sound like it was a burden for boosters (in this case, the band boosters) to participate in the event. I wondered if they would say the same for sport boosters? I had five children go through the school system. Three of them were in the music program (stage band and jazz workshop); four of them in the marching band/color guard program; and two of them involved in sports (track and field). So, I'm not denying the value of either. I was part of band boosters for many years. We raised funds for uniforms (twice); we sent our kids to pageants; competitions and parades far and wide. We worked year round, and not just the weekend of the pageant. No different than sport boosters. There was more involved than just "marching down Main St.". This is where the waters get muddied when discussing the music program, and the pageant in particular. We had a vibrant pageant because of the hard work and dedication of the teachers; the students; and the boosters. In order to attract bands to the pageant, our band marched in events sponsored by other schools. The schools reciprocated by coming to Batavia. As the BOE chopped the budget for the music program, the trips became minimal resulting in fewer bands coming to Batavia. The parents; families; and friends of students participating in this three day event, from other schools, spent a great deal of money in Batavia. The booked rooms; ate meals; and shopped (thus generating sales tax revenue). You may not see that as a trade off for the 'extra' work, but I'm sure the merchants appreciated it and I'm sure the city didn't turn down the additional sales tax money. You are right about the students taking that life skill with them. They took much more. It is sad that other students, who may not excel in sports, will not have the same experience. Ask the students, now adults, about the physical activity involved in being part of a marching band. Ask about the hours spent fine tuning field shows. Ask about performing in bitter cold and in stifling heat. Ask about the life lessons learned as they traveled, as a group, putting Batavia's name front and center. It may have looked as if they were just "marching down Main St." but the physical endurance matches the endurance needed in many sports, and all the time playing an instrument. The reality is that music students can use the experience to get into college. Any college with a good music program will look at the field experience if the student hopes to be in a college marching band. They aren't interested in just a good musician, but a good musician who knows how to "march down Main St", keep the beat, and learn routines and understands the discipline involved. The BOE is taking scholarship opportunities away from the kids. It isn't just the pageant, but everything that leads up to that one event.
daniel cherry
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What?No pageant of bands.The boys and i have gone since they were born.It must be devastating to the kids in the marching bands.I have many images of it.I am just appalled.My boys will be very dissapointed.How could this happen?Why do the people not get to vote on it?Some of them would march during the Pontillo's Halloween walk too.Why does it cost so many tax dollars to close a street?In my opinion its a stimulus.If they get overtime.Why do they make such a big deal about things that matter to the people?And the people have no say.It is horrendous.Real cities, do not do that.Imagine if they said o it cost too much let's not have a thanksgiving parade?What do the student's think about it?Art and culture are very important.We lost part of ours.Because music is art.O this irks me.It was the biggest event of the year.Where thousands of people would line the streets.It brought cash to Batavia.The most people i have ever seen gather here.Sorry i'm as articulate as some but i just wanted to give my opinion.My boys don't even know yet.They loved the parade.All children did.They should keep sports and this alive!!So the kids in the band wasted their time practicing forever? LET ARTS LIVE ...dan
Andrew Erbell
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Did anyone bother to read the article in the Daily News? It is pretty hard to hold a Pageant of the Bands - plural, without having bandssssss participate. Every school in the area has severely cut back extra-curricular activities to meet budgetary needs. It continues to amaze me how everyone wants their taxes kept low and budgets to be smaller, until their pet issue or project is impacted and then it's; "We can't cut that!"
Bea McManis
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It is 'mission accomplished'. The benefit of the Pageant is that thousands of students, from bands as far away as Florida, got to participate in this event over the years. They came away from it with great memories of this small city in WNY. To some it will always be just kids "marching down Main St.". But we know different. Batavia High School band members were stellar ambassadors for the City of Batavia.
terry paine
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Maybe if the taxpayers weren’t responsible for replenishing the retirements of all the union employees in the city school system there would be some extra private money to help in this situation. Since most retirements have lost over 40 percent in value because of failed government programs; its crazy that 12 month a year working people have to make up for there loses. I talked to a teacher this weekend that couldn’t believe that Golisano was so selfish that he would leave NY with his 15 million when the teachers desperately need a raise. Who is going to replenish my retirement. City of Batavia $16500.00 per student per year City of Buffalo $24000.00 per student per year Very good private schools across the country with better test scores $7-8000.00 per year
Timothy Paine
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Channel 2 WGRZ provided a link just this morning I found very enlightening. SeeThroughNY.net. It lists the salaries of teachers and administrators in all the local school districts. It also provides for Judges, legislators, Public works and so on. I found it interesting.
Charlie Mallow
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Dan, I’m not sure how the city got implicated in cutting the pageant but, we had nothing to do with it.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Charlie Mallow about 2 hours ago Dan, I’m not sure how the city got implicated in cutting the pageant but, we had nothing to do with it. I think Dan was referring to Thomas Mooney's comment: "Are we really going to spend tax payers money for an event that doesn't draw enough competitors to make it worth while . That is property tax dollers to close down Main Street ( City workers overtime to do this ) along with City police officers .I can not remember a time that any sport has asked for such special treatment"
daniel cherry
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No i did not read the daily news.I usually buy it only Saturday.And then use it for the bird cage.I guess in the school budget kids do not matter.I just cant understand it.If they made so many cuts did taxes get lowered?I was only saying sports are equally important.This morning i was wondering when is the pageant.I guess i got the answer thanks howard.
Andrew Erbell
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Dan; You do understand these decisions were made at the schools of the marching bands coming from other areas, including out of state, and have nothing to do with Batavia CSD as the host school, right?
Bea McManis
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Pageant of Bands ends after 35-year run By Joanne Beck [email protected] Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:30 AM EDT BATAVIA -- After 35 years of showing off the musical talents of high school bands, the Pageant of Bands is no more, city school officials say. That yearly event had featured a Saturday parade down Main Street and marching, jazz, field and concert band, percussion, twirling and colorguard competitions over Memorial Day weekend. Past events have also highlighted the departures of longtime band directors Neil Hartwick and Ken Hay. Graduating seniors have given a flower to their moms. And even dedicated Sertoma presidents have been acknowledged. This year the prelude to summer has been replaced with a two-day jazz festival, which took place in April, Superintendent Margaret Puzio said. Officials blamed a poor economy and how it may affect future school budgets for the pageant's demise. "The pageant had dwindling numbers of local schools. With the economic situation, organizers were worried there would even be fewer schools attending," Puzio said Monday. "And with the holiday weekend, they were concerned about getting volunteers to help out." Of the 13 schools that participated in last year's pageant, only six marched in the parade competition. That was difficult enough to support, she said, without fear that even less might sign up this year. After all, it costs each school district money to transport kids to the event site and to enter competitions. The pageant, which began in 1973 as a way to offer competition and performance experience to students, has required Batavia band boosters to man competition areas, the food stand and a chicken barbecue at the high school grounds for three days. The hope is that a two-day jazz festival in April will still offer high school groups a great venue to compete, an educational experience for the students and quality jazz entertainment for the community. http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/articles/2009/05/20/news/5519580.txt Now the questions: Officials blamed a poor economy and how it may affect future school budgets for the pageant's demise. When my kids were in band, it was the boosters that financed most of the pageant. How much, I wonder, was actually budgeted for the pageant that made it so overwhelming? "The pageant had dwindling numbers of local schools. With the economic situation, organizers were worried there would even be fewer schools attending," Puzio said Monday. "And with the holiday weekend, they were concerned about getting volunteers to help out." Did they get a request from the band boosters to cut out the pageant because the boosters didn't have enough volunteers to work the weekend? Or, is this an assumption from Puzio (who, by the way used our tax money, to pay for an auto dial commercial to get out and vote for the school budget). Of the 13 schools that participated in last year's pageant, only six marched in the parade competition. That was difficult enough to support, she said, without fear that even less might sign up this year. After all, it costs each school district money to transport kids to the event site and to enter competitions. This was the only mention of concern for the other schools. I will ask again, will the same concern be aired regarding outside schools bringing sport teams to Batavia to compete? The pageant, which began in 1973 as a way to offer competition and performance experience to students, has required Batavia band boosters to man competition areas, the food stand and a chicken barbecue at the high school grounds for three days.
Andrew Erbell
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If the auto-dialer you're mentioning is anything like the one our kids school has, it is a permanent function made available in the most recent phone system installed at the school. It's primary purpose is for mass notifications to parents, such as school closings or emergencies. It's simply a matter of the Superintendent or his/her designee making a pre-recorded message and hitting a button. There's no big expense involved. Also, the sports comparison to this is apples and oranges. Batavia HS plays in a league and schedules are set, pretty much the same every year. The transportation costs for these events are built into the annual budget. Marching Bands on the other hand go to parades/competitions based on invitations and at the discretion of the Music Director. He/she would need to submit a bus usage request for any/every parade/competition. Perhaps the Music Boosters aren't as active as they used to be and that has played in to this decision as well.
daniel cherry
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Howard must be sleeping, so should i be.Thanks for the info i appreciate it. I will miss the pageant.will they be marching at St Joe's parade?
Bea McManis
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Is there a parade this year? No clue if they will march if there is. They still need buses to get them to the parade site even in the city. Depends on how much it would strain the budget. For that matter, will they march in the Memorial Day parade?
C D
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Generally, the first thing that is cut in public schools to save money is art and music programs. The sad thing is that art and music are far more academic than sports, but even suggesting cutting money from high school sports is considered punishable by death in some circles.
John Roach
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Why is anyone upset with the BHS people? They ended this because OTHER school systems are not supporting the event. Batavia seems to have been still supporting the parade. Is there anyone on this site who lives in one of the districts that cut the funding? Was the issue taxes or lack of interest? If you can only fund one, sports or music, how do you pick? Who makes the pick?

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