The following is an open letter from the American Bandmaster’s Association and echoes the sentiment of the College Band Directors National Association. Now it is our turn to support the nation’s top music makers.
“The House of Representatives has voted to limit spending on military bands, reducing by $125 million what the Pentagon originally planned to spend. It would be the first time that spending on the military’s 154 bands has been reduced by Congress.
To take effect, however, the reduction must be approved the Senate, which has yet to take up the fiscal 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill. Representative Betty McCollum, D-Minn.,who sponsored the measure to reduce funding, said that “the Pentagon doesn’t need any more band aid.” (Washington Post)
While the cap Rep. McCollum proposes suggests a 37.5% reduction in spending, in reality the cuts are likely to be much higher. Because this cap would take effect in fiscal year 2012, scores of bands would immediately have to be deactivated and thousands of military musician contracts would be abruptly terminated.
In addition to the dozens of bands that would be eliminated completely , the premiere bands of each branch are likely to be reduced to such a degree that national concert tours will quickly become a thing of the past. And these changes could take effect as early as October 1st, 2011.