A recent letter to the editor in the Venice Gondolier Sun, called for the firing of the Venice High School band director. I call for the support of the community for the VHS band director and members. These children work hard, before and after school, to provide entertainment and support for the football team during their games. Many people may not know this, but the VHS band provides most of their own funding, through volunteer hours and fundraising which the VHS Band Boosters work at all year long — not only during football season, this allowing the band to be present at a championship football game. Apparently, one very vocal community member is worried about where the band is located during the football games. Apparently, their distance from the 50-yard line (which is not a decision made by the band director) is enough of a problem for this community member to call for the “firing of the Venice High School band leader.”
Jonathan Case is the VHS band director, and has been for 17 years. He has lead not only the marching band, but the many other bands of Venice High School to several superior ratings in competition. He has chosen music which the band members not only have fun performing, but also enjoy listening to. He has inspired kids for years to embrace music and share their musical talents with the Venice community. His care and concern for each of the members in his band goes above and beyond his monetary compensation from Sarasota County. His countless hours of work with the children who comprise the band, during summer, before and after school, in the hot sun, during rainy days, to perfect their routines and create a show that the band members will be proud of performing are apparently overlooked due to his lack of a “team effort with the cheerleaders.” All of the parents, children and volunteers are 100 percent behind Mr. Case and the decisions involving the band and its members.
This “concerned” community member also voiced chagrin over the band, “leaving the field at halftime,” and not returning, “until the fourth quarter.” The football team gets their break at halftime, while the band entertains the crowds, and then, after being in full band uniform for upwards of three hours, usually, in 90-degree temperatures, during the third quarter, the band (who is comprised of children) takes a break to eat and drink — necessary tasks for any human being, but especially children who are overheated and exhausted from playing their hearts out during halftime. This is standard practice for every band during a high school football game.
As far as the “concerned” community member’s allegations of the other band being “louder and better,” he must have missed his freshman physics class. If you are sitting on the home team’s side, the visitor’s band is directly across from you, playing towards you, whereas the VHS band’s instruments are facing away from you, and therefore the sound is directed away from you, so, of course it wouldn’t be as loud. And, I have no rubric for determining “better,” but I know that these kids and their director sacrifice much more for this community than this “concerned” community member is even capable of comprehending. These kids spend hours on hours practicing to perform not only at football games but parades, concerts and other varied community events, they deserve nothing less than the support and praise of this community. So I ask you what gives you the right or authority to comment on the performance of these kids or the incredible man who leads them?
Nicole Schmaling is the President of the Venice High School Music Boosters.