These are volatile times. Just in the past month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average—a stock market index—has recorded the largest drops and largest surges since its start in 1896. Overall, the Dow has lost more than 21% between Sep. 15 and Oct. 28.
Along with stock market plunges often come other financial hardships such as falling housing values, decreased purchasing power and lower consumer confidence. While many of these economic challenges may not impact you directly, we have already seen the ramifications of these changes on bands in general. Funding for music education has always been a struggle, but now more bands seem to be having trouble buying uniforms and instruments or even sustaining the day-to-day costs of running a program.
To make matters worse, many groups have experienced a decrease in revenues from bingo, one of their biggest fundraising sources.For bands and students, the combined effect may mean higher dues, reduced travel and the need for new, more creative fundraising techniques.
By the time you read this magazine, we’ll have elected a new president, and the results could have major impacts on the economy and, on a smaller scale, on music education. Both candidates have stated that they support federal funding of arts education, and I sincerely hope that they follow through.
Over the next few months, we will be following these trends and providing a greater overview of the state of music education. In the meantime, if your band is in need, let us know. We plan to start a list online that may help you connect with people and companies that have the resources you need.
As we work together to overcome our global and personal struggles, we hope for this issue of Halftime Magazine to bring you a little bit of hope and a little bit of inspiration. In times of need, we can often look to others as shining examples of perseverance and dedication.
In this issue, we watch band members with physical and developmental challenges showcase their talents (“Overcoming Obstacles, page 24), follow band programs at Division I-AA, II and III schools as they make names for themselves in the shadow of larger universities (“Big Band Attitude,” page 36) and find out how busy students manage their time as they juggle band with a myriad of other activities (“Balancing Band,” page 30).
Just remember—like the people showcased in these inspirational stories—that you still rule your own fate.
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief