To the editor:

Immaturity, misinformation and whining. Like Dante’s three-headed dog that guarded the Gates of Hell, these traits stand out in the letter by Neal Cardwell.

Immaturity, the first head, begins the attack with the diatribe on standardized dress in the Greenville schools. This is nothing more than the beginnings of a temper tantrum designed to garner attention towards the real issue behind the letter, Cardwell’s issues with the Greenville High School Band.

Misinformation, the next head, follows by not only presenting incorrect data to the reader, but also by trying to direct that data towards an indefensible point. Cardwell’s claim of band staff requirements of band time over academics is ludicrous. In the last three years my son has participated in the program; not once has he ever been denied having to take care of an academic requirement over band.

In fact, he has been encouraged to keep his academics in line. Cardwell also declines to mention that the band members themselves have set up a tutor and support system for other band members that request help with their academics. He further misstates the after school rehearsal times. Monday after school rehearsals have been a mainstay since the halcyon days of Bob Cartwright (I know, I was there). This year, the band, not the staff, elected to spend additional time on Tuesdays.

The rehearsals start at 6 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. The last two rehearsals the band as a group voted to go over 15 minutes to reach a logical stopping point. Section rehearsals are decided upon by the members of the respective sections as to date, time and duration. They are strongly encouraged by the band staff but rarely required. As time nears to UIL competition staff will sometimes call the rehearsals, but these take the place of the individual effort of band members that is already in place. Friday night game day practices are for home games only and they begin at 4:45 p.m. . and last till 5:45 p.m. Thus, the contention of over nine hours extra rehearsal time is unfounded.

Whining is the only weapon that is left for the third head to bring to the fight. Cardwell speaks of supposedly having to miss class time in order to practice for events such as a school program or lunch time performances. This would indicate he was a member of the Jazz band.

While this is an elite group of band students, it is also a group of students who, like any other high school student, occasionally tries to find ways to actually miss class and use band as an excuse. (I know, I did that also!!) The student leadership of this year’s band is the strongest and most competent yet. That leadership is directed by three exceptional and “leadership strong” senior drum majors, one of which just happens to be Cardwell’s girlfriend.

These three individuals have devoted many hours of personal time and training to the development of band attitude, individual morale and upper class member leadership. The band program is the strongest it has been in at least five years. It must be, considering the competition the band will face on the field at half-time and at UIL Marching and Concert competition. (Cardwell needs to do a little research into the rehearsal time of state ranked bands such as Sherman, Mesquite Poteet and J.J. Pearce, all bands that have or will share the half-time with Greenville).

Perhaps though the real reason behind Cardwell’s letter is jealousy. He makes no mention in his letter of any participation on his part as a leader or a follower during his four years as a member of the GHS Band. Such an omission should lead the average reader to further question Cardwell’s credibility as a reporter of all the facts.

This band is willingly and collectively training to do things that that the band Cardwell was a member of could not have accomplished. The band may not succeed completely, but it deserves the right to try, and it certainly does not deserve the slings and arrows hurled by Cardwell’s veiled literary effort to diminish the accomplishments and future of an organization of which he is no longer a member.

Robb Horn

Proud GHS Band Parent

Former GHS Band Member

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