Evergreen High School's marching band program will stop competing

Evergreen High School (KATU News photo).png

One of the best competitive high school marching bands in the Pacific Northwest won't be competing anymore.

Vancouver's Evergreen High School has decided to drop the marching band from their music program.

Band directors say they want to invest the time and money spent on training and traveling into other parts of the music program that give more benefits to more kids. This would include new instruments and more instruction.

An Evergreen School District spokesperson says it's not a district decision, it's up to the instrumental music department and the band boosters. Competitive marching band is an extra-curricular activity paid for by students, families and fundraising. This year, the marching band cost more than $400 per child. The band and the color guard put in more than 200 hours getting ready for performances.

The board says getting to competitions is getting more expensive and fewer students are interested in being in competitive marching.

"I had a lot of families saying 'wait a minute, this is the only thing that's getting my kid through middle school is knowing that they get to be in marching band next year,'" marching band supporter Sami Berger said.

Berger said he thinks the program provides leadership and friendship that some kids won't get anywhere else. There will still be a marching band for local parades and football games, just not for competition.

Former band members say they learn discipline and leadership that can last a lifetime.

"It was that feeling of camaraderie. It wasn't just me. There was 150 of us. That's like ten percent of the school," Eddie Risto, a former band member said.

If you'd like to learn more about this or voice your opinion, you can attend a school board meeting at the district office May 9 and a parent meeting on May 15 at Evergreen High School.

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