An Open Q&A to Panther Fans:

I have heard from several Panther football fans directly and have heard about complaints by others over the last two three days and feel it is important that I spell out some answers to some common questions.

Q: Why doesn't the band play more during the football game?

A: OHSAA referees have been told by OHSAA to more strictly enforce rules on bands since week three of the season since there was an apparent incident of a band playing at very inappropriate times and having a direct outcome on the game.  OHSSAA rules state that:

From the 2018 Football Regulations:A. Bands shall not play music at football games while the ball is in play, or while signals are being called by the quarterback. This means that it is not permissible to use either:1. Drum roll or beat2. Cymbals clashing3. Horn sounds, or4. Any other kind of musical instrument while the play is underway in football.
This means that as soon as the quarterback is in position to start the play, bands are to cease playing. Most all of the teams that we have faced this year, as well as the panthers, run hurry-up style offenses with no huddle which gives band directors a time frame of about 10 seconds to make noise before the next play. Warnings have been given to many directors this past year, including myself. It is our intention to not break these rules and not have a penalty called because of the band playing at an inappropriate time. This limits our playing to time outs, first/second quarter break, third/fourth quarter break, and after scores before the next kick off.

An effort by myself, several directors, and the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) is seeking clarification from OHSAA and hoping that rules can be fairly and consistently enforced, as that is currently not being done. Referees don't understand the band rules and are essentially hushing bands whenever they feel they are too loud or playing at the wrong time. Our intention is to make music as much as possible within the confines of the rules. If you notice we are not playing much, that's why.

Q: Why does the band leave the stands in the second quarter before halftime?

Much how warming up is an important part of athletic activity, warm up, tuning, and preparation is part of our halftime performance. It is an opportunity for us to mentally, physically, and musically to prepare for our demanding halftime performance.

Q: Why did the band not come back for the fourth quarter of the game the other night?

A: My first priority and concern is the well being of my musicians. When band members in non-waterproof shoes, and cotton gloves are soaked to the bone coupled with cold temperatures and wind often result in members not even being able to feel their fingers and toes. With 40* temps, 10mph winds, and driving rain, hypothermia is a real concern. The safety of my band members is paramount to me. My assistant director and I did return to the stands for the remainder of the game, as we were afforded the opportunity to dress appropriately for the conditions.

Secondly, many instruments do not do well in the rain. When flutes, clarinets, and saxophones are rained on, pads swell, crack, and do not seal properly. This often results in complete re-pads of these instruments which can run a student $100-$200 to get their instrument in playing condition again.  The weather takes the toll on brass and percussion as well, and there is currently little to no school funds available to repair or replace these instruments. Band directors must take the health of their instrument inventory into consideration when deciding to stay in the stands and when to seek shelter.

Finally, I can assure you the absence of the band on Friday had absolutely nothing to do with perceived support or lack of support for the Panthers. The FMB always supports our fine Fairbanks athletes.


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