Budget cuts force marching band to limit travel
Published: Monday, January 10, 2011
Updated: Monday, January 10, 2011 02:01
FRISCO, Texas — From a corner section of Pizza Hut Park, wedged between the Blue Hens side of the stadium and the student section, the university's marching band kept the thousands of Hens fans entertained with renditions of the Delaware Fight Song and Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."
One hundred band members flew to Frisco to support the team. But while they performed, more than 200 more sat at home.
Due to budget constraints, only juniors and seniors were eligible to go, according to band director Heidi Sarver.
In 2003 and 2007, when the Hens traveled to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the national championship game, the entire band made the trip. The band's website still lists the national championship game as mandatory for all members.
"The decision to send 100 members was based upon available funding made possible by the university administration," Sarver stated in an e-mail message last week. She would talk only through e-mail and did not provide specifics.
"Of course they are disappointed," she said of the band members who were not able to go on the trip. "But they also understand better than anyone else that economic times are tough and that if there was a way for us to take them we would. The amazing thing about the band is they support each other as well as the greater good all the time. "
University spokeswoman Meredith Chapman said last week she was not able to find out who at the university made the decision to cut the band's travel funding or why the decision was made.
After more inquiries from the media, Stacey Bunting-Thompson, associate director of athletics for external relations, e-mailed a statement through the Office of Communications and Marketing.
"We are especially thankful for the to send 100 band members and staff, made possible by the generosity of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the provost, Athletics, UD central administration and the many generous gifts by innumerable donors to the Marching Band and the Department of Music," the statement read in part.
The statement did not address the students who could not go, and Bunting-Thompson did not return a call from The Review.
Tyler Dukes, a freshman saxophone player, said he wished the entire band could go but understands why the trip was limited to upperclassmen.
"We were all kind of disappointed we couldn't go down, but most of us understand," Dukes said.
At Eastern Washington University, the entire marching band was given the opportunity to travel to Texas. EWU spokesman David Meany said the band has between 100 and 150 members, but fewer than 100 made the trip.
Sarver said last week the seniors and juniors in UD's band were looking forward to the trip.
"The band members are incredibly excited to go," she said. "They know they are an integral part of the football experience and are eager to contribute."