UNR Marching Band may get Axed with Budget Cuts

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The University of Nevada, Reno's marching band
may be dismantled if the school is forced to cut another 14 percent
from its budget in the next biennium, UNR President Milton Glick

Glick said the band, which has been a mainstay for 27 years, would be eliminated to spare other programs in the 2009-2011 budget cycle.

"The intention, as we do our planning, is that the marching band will go," Glick said. "But we have not yet seen real numbers. Our priorities are to protect the core teaching and research programs.

"If I have to compare the teaching programs to the marching band, I have to give priority to the teaching programs."

Glick held out hope that the band could be saved if lesser cuts are ordered.

The band's leader, R. Alan Sullivan, was among 40 administrators notified last week that they will lose their jobs after July 1, 2009.

About 3,500 students have been part of the band that plays at football and basketball games since it began, director A.G. "Mack" McGrannahan said.

"This was going to be our 28th year," he said. "When I heard about this last Wednesday, I couldn't sleep for nights."

McGrannahan said losing the band would be a blow to UNR's music

"I think that we would see a significant reduction in our numbers," he said.

Potential students, he said, "should ask themselves the question, if they want to study music and teach music, why would they want to come here because our offerings will be significantly reduced."

He also said loss of the band would be felt in Nevada's public education system since many of the music teachers and band directors at Nevada high schools are former UNR students.

Glick, whose son played in the marching band at the University of Michigan, said he hopes the budget crisis won't be as bad as projected and the band can be saved.

"This is not what anyone of us would do in a normal situation," Glick said.

"Would we like to have a marching band? Yes. Will we have a marching band in a year? Maybe. But we have to take steps now in
preparation not to have it. And I will still defend that.

"If I have to protect the English department or the math department or the business school or the music department, I will protect all of those things before the marching band," he said.