School board votes to drop marching band rule


At their most recent meeting, Monday, January 12, members of the Maple Lake School Board voted 6-1 to remove what is known as the “marching rule” – a concert band prerequisite that students also perform in marching band. 
At the board’s December meeting, band director Nathan Mitchell had told board members the marching rule was impeding growth of the concert band, pushing students away from instrumental music, dissuading elementary students from joining beginning band and affecting the attitudes of both the marching and concert ensembles.
Board Chair Arnie Michalicek, who cast the lone vote of dissent, expressed his doubts to fellow board members, saying that he felt “torn” on the matter.
“We need to have marching band,” he explained. “And I think, in a short amount of years, we won’t have marching band if we do this. I haven’t been convinced yet that this is the right way to go.”
Board member Rick Thomas, allowing that Michalicek’s prediction was a distinct possibility, said his own three children would have continued with band all four years, but for the marching rule. 
“So, yes, we may lose marching band,” Thomas said. “But I think it will give more students an opportunity to take band that otherwise may not.”
The vote was taken, and Michalicek told the board he hoped he would ultimately be proven wrong.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.