The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body
Junior+High+County+Band+was+cancelled+yesterday+due+to+the+dangerous+weather+conditions+brought+on+by+a+winter+storm.
Junior High County Band was cancelled yesterday due to the dangerous weather conditions brought on by a winter storm.

Junior High County Band was cancelled yesterday due to the dangerous weather conditions brought on by a winter storm.

Kaelynn Behrens

Kaelynn Behrens

Junior High County Band was cancelled yesterday due to the dangerous weather conditions brought on by a winter storm.

District cancels County Band over weather concerns

February 1, 2017

After an overnight and morning-long precipitation blanketed Blair County yesterday with six inches of snow and made driving conditions dangerous enough to force a 2-hour delay to the start of school at Bellwood-Antis, B-A Band Director and Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy made the decision to cancel the Blair County Junior High County Band Festival, which was slated to be held at B-A.

No make-up date was set primarily because of scheduling conflicts.

It was not an easy decision for Mr. Sachse, though it did come with some feelings of distress from the B-A students who were going to play in the event.

You can read about the decision to cancel here, along with reaction from the participants involved.

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Conductor+Dr.+Darrin+Thornton+wanted+to+be+at+B-A+for+County+Band%2C+but+realized+it+was+the+right+move+to+cancel+in+light+of+the+weather+situation.
Conductor Dr. Darrin Thornton wanted to be at B-A for County Band, but realized it was the right move to cancel in light of the weather situation.

Conductor Dr. Darrin Thornton wanted to be at B-A for County Band, but realized it was the right move to cancel in light of the weather situation.

Kaelynn Behrens

Kaelynn Behrens

Conductor Dr. Darrin Thornton wanted to be at B-A for County Band, but realized it was the right move to cancel in light of the weather situation.

Weather forces County Band cancellation

In an instant, a year’s worth of planning was cut short yesterday when the 2017 Junior High County Band Festival set to take place at Bellwood-Antis was cancelled due to weather.

Snow began falling early Tuesday morning, school at B-A was delayed two hours, and by the time the day began at 10 a.m. the decision had been made to cancel the performance.

Musicians from 10 area schools were at B-A on Monday preparing for the event.

The decision was difficult to make, but it was made carefully by Band Director Mr. Pat Sachse, BASD Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy, and the band directors from other 10 schools at the event.

Mr. Sachse aid that safety was the number one reason for cancellation.

The odds of finding a time when all ten schools and the guest director are all available on the same day again just isn’t realistically possible.”

— Mr. Sachse

“The driving conditions were not safe enough for a long commute,” said Mr. Sachse. “The decision was made in the best interest of the parents and students.”

Since multiple months of hard work were put into this festival by both students practicing and band directors preparing with one another, many wondered why the festival wasn’t postponed to a later date. However, Mr. Sachse said that because there are so many festivals this time of the year,  finding a reasonable date to postpone county band to was impossible.

“The odds of finding a time when all ten schools and the guest director are all available on the same day again just isn’t realistically possible,” said Mr. Sachse.

Dr. Darrin Thornton, an assistant professor of music at Penn State’s School of Music, was invited to conduct the concert and agreed it was the best decision.

“The students in the Blair County Junior High Schools put in a lot of personal work preparing to attend the county band event, and also put in a hard day of collective work on Monday,” said Dr. Thornton. “Although it is disappointing the weather did not cooperate and the event had to be canceled, it was the best decision given the number of students and districts involved. ”

Along with his hand in the Blue Band, Dr. Thornton teaches music education foundations, methods and technique courses to undergrads, while also serving on the masters and doctoral thesis committees.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day I was able to spend with this fine group of young musicians. I hope to return the area again soon,” said Dr. Thornton.

Not only were months of hard work put in to this festival, a lot of money was spent on drinks, snacks and other supplies as well. To prevent throwing the goods and supplies away and wasting money, items will be saved and used at future events.

“The chorus is hosting Junior High County Chorus in March,” said Mr. Sachse. “Anything non-perishable will be donated to their festival to make their lives easier.”

Mr. Sachse said that although he is disappointed, he is glad that the decision was been made to keep the students safe.

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    Students+were+disappointed+when+Junior+High+County+Band+was+cancelled+Tuesday.
    Students were disappointed when Junior High County Band was cancelled Tuesday.

    Students were disappointed when Junior High County Band was cancelled Tuesday.

    Kaelynn Behrens

    Kaelynn Behrens

    Students were disappointed when Junior High County Band was cancelled Tuesday.

    Students unhappy with decision

    Freshman Alex Roberts was extremely disappointed that County Band was cancelled.

    He said he put in a lot of time and effort into learning the new music he was given and wanted the chance to play it at the show.

    “I’m really upset.  I really liked the music and wish we could do it at a different time.  I practiced that music for more than a week and made a lot of friends at the first rehearsal,” said Alex.

    Alex is not the only one upset.  When Junior High County Band was cancelled yesterday due to the dangerous weather, students from around the area had to be disappointed. There were ten schools from Blair County and beyond.

    Even though the students are upset, rescheduling the concert would be almost impossible for multiple reasons.

    I spent time learning the music and prepping for the concert. It almost feels like a wasted effort.”

    — Joyce Zheng

    “The odds of finding a time when all ten schools and the guest director are all available on the same day again just isn’t realistically possible,” said Mr. Sachse.

    Still, students were troubled by the move.

    “I was starting to make friends from other schools, and we were going to talk again today,” said Evan.

    One student who was particularly upset to see the concert cancelled was freshman Joyce Zheng.  She said she felt her hard work was wasted.

    “I’m not happy about it.  I spent time learning the music and prepping for the concert.  It almost feels like a wasted effort,” said Joyce.

    Mr. Sachse felt that the practice wasn’t a lost cause.

    “Although I’m disappointed to lose the concert, it shouldn’t take away from the educational benefit the students’ received of learning the music and the experience of working with our outstanding conductor.” said Mr. Sachse.

    Dr. Darrin Thornton from Penn State was scheduled to be the guest conductor.

    Mr. Sachse said ideally the concert would be made up, but that’s not realistically possible.

    “I would have loved to reschedule this concert but it was logistically impossible,” he said.

     

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