CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – The Cumberland Valley School District says they are not planning to eliminate their marching band program after rumors suggested the program would end.

According to a district spokesperson, the Cumberland Valley High School has 75 students registered to participate in the marching band next year and they are working to increase that number.

The district is also looking to hire a new band director “who has a vision for increasing that number.”

A letter from district superintendent David E. Christopher was published Monday on the district’s website addressing the rumors.

Good afternoon Grade 8-12 Families, 

Over the weekend, we were made aware of a rumor that was circulating that CVSD was planning to “kill” our marching band program and turn it into a small “pep band.” While we can’t be certain where this rumor originated, we do believe it was based on some questions we asked during our initial interviews for our open marching band/high school band director position. 

The questions were designed to see if we could find an individual who has a vision for increasing the number of students in our marching band. Cumberland Valley has one of the state’s best music programs. As a high school of around 3,000 students, and one with a rich history of having a strong marching band, we would hope to have more than 200 students in our marching band program.  As of today, we have less than 75 students registered for marching band for next year (this includes our color guard students). The questions we asked during our interviews were designed to try to identify a candidate we believe can grow this program. To do that, we are looking for someone who can maintain a very high standard of performance AND can increase the number of students.

At no time have any of our administrators ever stated that we should not compete as a band.  What we have asked candidates to do is to explain their vision for how the expectations of participating in the band and competition can be more inclusive to more students.

We are also aware that there is another rumor circulating about us canceling our indoor program and some have even stated that the supposed changes to the band program are budget driven. No one has even contemplated any changes to our indoor competition team, which has been incredibly successful. In addition, concerns related to the budget are unfounded. While we certainly have budgetary challenges this year, no one has proposed reducing funding for our music programs. In fact, we are actually proposing the addition of a K-12 music faculty member in the 2023-2024 school year. 

What we are doing is looking for a band director with a vision to improve our marching band program and drastically increase our number of band members. It is unfortunate that this has been construed to mean that we plan to “kill” our program, as that has clearly never been our intention.

I’m sad that less than 75 of our kids are signing up for this opportunity as it is now. As a four-year high school marching band member, participating in the band was a great experience for me as a student. We owe it to our students to find a great candidate for our open position and to provide them with the necessary support they need to make changes to ensure that many more CVHS students take the opportunity to be part of the marching band. 

With much gratitude,

David E. Christopher, Ed.D.