Budget cuts mean hundreds will miss band trip to title game
Only one-third of the marching band can go to support the Hens
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 14:01
When the university marching band leaves for Frisco, Texas Thursday morning to support the Blue Hens in their bid for a national championship, it will leave two-thirds of its members behind.
Due to budget constraints, only 100 of the band's more than 300 members will be able to make the trip. 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. She would talk only through e-mail and did not provide specifics.
"Of course they are disappointed," she said of the band members 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 Monday 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.
Tyler Dukes, a freshman saxophone player, said he wishes 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.
He said band members not going to the game have been invited to perform at a watch party being held in the Trabant University Center Friday night.
At Eastern Washington University, the Hens' opponent in Friday's game, the entire marching band was given the opportunity to travel to Texas, but will likely still have fewer members present than the University of Delaware will.
EWU spokesman David Meany said the band has between 100 and 150 members, but less than 100 are expected to make the trip to Frisco.
Sarver said the seniors and juniors in UD's band are 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."