UNR Marching Band Vows To Play On

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The leader of the University of Nevada marching band says he will do whatever it takes to keep the program alive.

This comes after university president Milton Glick said the school may have to scrap the organization in order to meet necessary budget cuts

Dozens of students and several music teachers joined the band for a demonstration outside the student union, Wednesday afternoon.

The drum major was hoping this would make the University realize just how devastating the proposed cut would be.

"This will be the end of the music department as we know it," says Zeb Bellon, the drum major and band leader.

Bellon is one of 50 Music Education majors currently marching in the UNR band..

If the program is cut, he says all of them will have to transfer to another school to complete their degree.

"If the band program dies, music education teachers, since we won't have a program because our degrees, it won't be worth anything and it'll be very hard to get a job at any competitive school. So we need to make sure we do everything we can to support the program for our own reasons."

On Tuesday night, Bellon met with University President Milton Glick to try to find an alternative way for the school to solve its budget problems.

Glick formally unveiled the University's dilemma inside the Student Union on Wednesday.

As things stand right now, UNR would be required to cut over 14 percent of its current budget by next year, which is more than $30 million.

Even though band cuts would only amount to 300 thousand dollars each year, Glick says every little bit counts.

"When you're trying to get to $30 million, each piece makes a difference and we prioritize first our academic programs."

Both Glick and Bellon have indicated if the band does survive, it will look considerably different.

In the meantime, Bellon says he will continue holding fund raisers and passing out petitions to try to save the program.

"I think it was a very productive meeting, but the decision isn't reversed, so we need to keep on fighting."

This is just a proposed cut, nothing is final yet, but band director R. Alan Sullivan was one of 40 administrators told by the University that they would not be rehired after next June.

The UNR band has been a tradition for over 20 years. If the program is cut, the University of Nevada would be the only school in the Western Athletic Conference without a marching band.