Hannibal Band, Silenced By Budget Cuts, Marches Anyway

Hannibal high school marching band members and parents protest the elimination of funds for the band behind a banner that says Hannibal "Silent" Marching Band.  They're trying to raise the money needed to bring the band back to life.
Hannibal high school marching band members and parents protest the elimination of funds for the band behind a banner that says Hannibal "Silent" Marching Band. They're trying to raise the money needed to bring the band back to life.

CORRECTION: The band parents are not fundraising to try to restore the band, at least not yet.  Thank you to Linda Ingison for letting me know. My apologies for the error. – Dave

Hannibal’s high school marching band has always led the fire department’s annual field days parade. But Thursday night, the job fell to the Central New York Fire and Police Band. Hannibal’s school marching band died at the end of the school year, with the new district budget that eliminated money for the band.

But the band marched anyway. The banner in front wasn’t the official marching band banner. Instead, it said: Hannibal “Silent” Marching Band.

Students and parents walked behind the banner. Some carried, but did not play, instruments. Others carried signs. RIP Hannibal Marching Band, said one. When words fail…music speaks, said another.

Band members and parents are trying to raise the approximately $10,000 it will take to privately fund the marching band. (See correction, above)

The marching band cut was literally the last cut made by the Board of Education as it approved a new school budget with a 2% tax levy increase. The board had initially reduced a full-time music teacher to part-time, a move that would have pushed the start of music instruction to 6th grade, from the current 5th grade. The music teachers came back to the district with an offer: keep the position but remove money for marching band.


  1. I wonder if any sports programs were reduced or eliminated. I bet not.

    [Dave: I’m going on memory here because our server crash wiped out the articles from the time of the budget talks, but yes, some sports teams were eliminated. It was either 4 JV or 4 modified programs that had been cut out of the budget several years ago, then reinstated last year. If someone has a better recollection than I do, please drop a note in the comments. -Dave]

  2. I think it is rediculous that the marching band was cut.Whats next? The town will decide no more fire department or field days???? It should be the citizens taxpayers decision as to what is cut.I attended hannibal for all of my school years AND participated in marching band.We worked hard,had fun and we were PROUD to lead the parade.What a shame it wasn’t done this year.Shame on you Hannibal Board of Education,this blame falls on you alone.Not the kids or parents OR taxpayers

  3. Hannibal has in just recent years lost it’s fourth grade program to cuts just like this. This was a devistating blow to the program. Teachers should not have been put in a position where they were to decide between a teacher position and marching band. And the tax payers had no decision at all. Shame on the Board they should educate themselves on the importance of music education in our schools! We are looking for the board to reinstate not only the Marching band but to support a strong music education program in Hannibal Schools. Since music education is vital to a well rounded education it will in turn benefit the school,children and the Hannibal Community.

  4. Our family participated in this ‘SILENT’ MARCHING BAND and I know that most of the infomation was not accurate! You may even say that I was one of the organizers for this.
    First of all we were not trying to raise money for this program, we were trying to put out the
    awareness to the community that this program was cut, alot of people were not aware of this cut
    in the budget, we are getting the community involved so they can help put pressure on the board to
    have this program reinstated for next year. Board of Education should not of put it on the music instructors hands to decide between a teaching position and marching band, this was wrong!!!!!
    This shouldn’t even been on the table for a cut either way, we already lost the 4th grade music program a few years ago, that really hurt the students and put them behind in learning their music, we did not get this program back, however the JV sports came back, don’t get me wrong I like
    sports and I support them but is this right, and now The Board wants to take marching band too, NO WAY it’s not going to happen without a fight for whats right!!!! Maybe the Administrated Assistant really didn’t need a raise!(or whoever got the raise, there was a big raise given to somebody however) What is the Board thinking about at this school?(certainly not the students) Our Daughter graduated a couple of years ago, close to the top of her class, and she believes that music has alot to do with learning in other classes and this has been proven. What does Hannibal want smart students or disadvantage ones to just pass along with the system. Times are
    tough everywhere people, stop giving out unworthy raises, think about the students future, remember there isn’t much to go on in this world nowadays but a good education. Also this cut
    really disappointed alot of people, the firefighters(Thank You for your support) and there was even people that wouldn’t go to the parade to watch because there was no marching band.
    Dave Bullard would you please tell us who gave you this misleading information, it’s very important to us, we need to set them straight!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Linda and I spoke Saturday morning, resulting in the correction above. Totally my mistake. -Dave]

  5. First of all I think the silent march made a huge statement, and I think it was a great idea. People in the community need to see what their decisions effect. Second, yes there were JV sports cut, 5 programs to be exact. Third, children need it all. Teachers, music and sports. Who is to say that one is more important then the other. Too many times the dollar bill becomes more important then the student/child. These kids are the future, they will be the ones taking care of us. So much of life’s lessons comes from the “other” stuff that educates our kids and keeps them in the classroom. We are all responsible for this and we all can be the solution. Work together not against, get involved!

  6. As a member of the band I was part of this. This protest was not just by the marching band students, it was by all music students. There were kids in this that weren’t part of the band, but they participated in other music programs. I would also like to point out that even though Marching Band was cut instead of the part time job, they did cut Mr.Hurne, the chorus director, from the high school, he is now only working in the Middle School. And when the cut was being decided, the board stated that it was being tabled, nothing was going to be final. They cut marching band without anyone there to stand up for it. So we didn’t even have a chance to save it, unlike the JV sports. The sports boosters was able to save the sports that were cut, Music boosters was not given this chance. I was very disappointed of this cut, and this had to be even more so for the out going seniors, there was no last time for them. I hope I get my last chance next year, as a senior. And I do have a question. If the whole country is taking cuts, why is whoever got a raise, getting a raise then?? Especially if they want to do the best thing for the kids? The best thing for the kids is to keep their programs. It has been proven that kids involved in music generally have better grades. So why is it that the music program that always suffers?

  7. I was the one carrying the ” Do the Math Sign” and if Hannibal School is on a Educational Probation due to low grades why are people getting raises if they aren’t doing their job. And for the budget cuts, why wasn’t the one who was getting a raise on the chopping block then? And why weren’t teachers pays put on probation until the school’s probation was lifted??
    One (angry) taxpayer

  8. I am saddened by the news of the cut of the Hannibal Marching Band. I am drum major this year in the Oswego Marching Band, and have a close friend who was involved with the band program (although she did not march) when she was in high school in Hannibal. I wish there was something I could do to explain to these people how important marching band is…but I guess the people in charge of these decisions don’t realize how much a program that seems as simple as this can change a person’s life. It instills discipline in a young adult, and teaches responsibility. Not to mention it’s true when they say you meet your best friends in marching band!!!! I am so disappointed that the Hannibal School District has decided this cut was necessary. These poor kids are missing out on so much. I didn’t even realize that Hannibal did not start music education until fifth grade until I read this article. I guess the decision was a good one when it came to pushing back to sixth grade or cutting the marching program…but maybe there was something else they could have considered cutting first. This is not fair for the kids!!!!

  9. I was a part of the Hannibal “Silent” Band on Thursday and from the comments that I had heard the community was unaware of the cut to the program. I know that when I attended a meeting of the band and Mr. DiFabbio the students were devastated because of all of the hard work that they had put in. The band was cut two weeks prior to the start of the parades so it handcuffed any chance of raising the money to keep it going. There is a Band Booster meeting on Sept 28 that will be open to the community so if there are any complaints or questions I would think that that would be the perfect time to come and voice your opinions. I have had some members of the community already approach me with fund raising ideas so that should this happen again we will be ready. Hopefully this opened the eyes of the Purple Pride community, and if it did mention it to a school board member. Hopefully we can hear the beautiful music of the Warrior Pride again next summer !!!

  10. I agree that the cuts made in the music program are awful. All cuts that take opportunities away from students are terrible. Children need stimulation and multiple options to choose from in order to grow into well rounded individuals.

    What I do not agree with is blaming the school board for these cuts. Yes, the school board proposed this budget to the voters but it is the voters who decided to agree with it because it would not raise taxes. It is the fear of having a budget that may slightly raise taxes not pass that creates all of these cuts. After a school budget is denied twice by voters the state steps in and controls the discrict’s budget.

    So before you all keep blaming the board and complaining about everything being cut why don’t you take a step back and look at yourselves. Why aren’t you willing to spend an extra few dollars a year to keep these programs? By the time you donate to fundraisers and spend the time organizing protests you could have simply said “A few dollars a year in taxes is worth letting these kids have a decent school district.” Instead everyone tightened their wallets and said “ABSOLUTELY NOT! NO MORE TAXES!” Well people, not raising taxes results in losing programs!

    So like the sign said “DO THE MATH!” What is a marching band or a music program, a business class to teach the students how to balance a checkbook or a sports program worth? Without these “extra” activities and classes our students are walking into the world knowing ho to do math, or simple scientific laws, but not how to apply them in the real world.

    Its time to stand up and say YES, Yes to education, Yes to Music, Yes to sports and in all reality YES TO OUR CHILDREN! So get off your duff and pay a little more in taxes and stop your complaining. Or even better, pay a little more in taxes and VOLUNTEER! If you were more involved in your children’s education there wouldn’t be such a need for paid positions.

    Just a thought.

  11. I couldn’t believe that they decided to cut the Marching Band program. Especially since it is really great publicity for the school itself. I can understand that the economy is really tough right now. However, it’s tough for everyone! I can not understand how these people are getting away with pay raises. They are taking away some of the most precious and momentous opportunities for the students. The students are supposed to be represented by these people, who are supposed to help shape and mold these children into upstanding individuals within society. This is not helping the already “me- me- me” society that we are currently in.

    Marching Band teaches the kids discipline, responsibility, work ethic, and most importantly teamwork. I have been a band member since 4th grade and I participated in Marching Band from 7th and on. Marching Band gave me a sense of pride for my community. It made me PROUD to be from Hannibal. Now who’s proud?

    What are people going to think when they look at our community and school system and realize that the school can not work together to make things work. The money could have been found. The money always seems to be found for the sports even if they were cut for a period of time then reinstated. Sports travel long distances and the cost of that transportation must be insurmountable if they can not even fund the marching band’s transportation.

    Stop taking away from the only thing the music program asked you for, money to transport the kids to different communities to represent EVERYONE’S pride in this community.

    So my question is, why are you stealing precious memories away from the kids that they will never have a chance to have like you had?

  12. Good show, Marching band and Boosters ! When our three children were attending Hannibal Schools some years ago, we had the pleasure of having a child in H.S. All county band, a child in Jr. High All county Band, and our youngest in Elementary All County Band and All County Orchestra; all in the same year. Our oldest child went on to pursue a career in music thanks to her sound musical education here in Hannibal.

    At that time, Hannibal School’s policy makers believed in educating our children, not in putting money into items such as the press box. Our Board needs to think more of the children, and less about cosmetic items for the district. As it is, our children start the instrumental program later than most students, because fourth grade instrumental instruction and band was cut a few years ago.

    I charge our Board to look closely at what is presented to them, and to ask questions. We have not only lost 4th grade music and marching band, but we have also lost Jr. High Home and Careers (Home Ec), the gifted and talented program, many of our business classes, sporting teams, etc.

    Yes, times are tough, and we have a small tax base here in Hannibal. But our CHILDREN are the ones in the HCS system who are taking the hits.

  13. Shame on the music department for proposing that the marching band be cut instead of a teachers job. Our school’s purpose is not to supply occupations but to supply quality education to our youth. It is sad that high school students see this while “grown up” teachers do not.

  14. To the children the loss of a marching band is devestating—however, to me the loss of appropriate educational tools is more devestating. Most of the youngsters, while enjoying the participation, will not go on to earn a living by marching in a band. They will, however, go on to college or a trade school with the tools they are given to achieve those endeavors. Learning to read, write, develop math skills, computer skills, and associated instruction is paramount to becoming a productive, tax paying, citizen of our community. In these stressed economic times, we should cut back on the luxuries and maintain the necessities.

  15. As a parent of two high school students one in sports, one in band I see the commitment they both give to these activities. I see the frustration when they are not doing well, be it playing sports or playing music. I see the pride when they win a game or bring home a trophy from a parade or competition. A well rounded school should offer each student the opportunity to reach his or her potential no matter what path they choose. Cuts were made in JV sports as well, lets not make this a sports vs. music issue. We as parents, students and community
    need to work together to ensure our students are given the opportunities they deserve. To the people who say raise the money, they do through music boosters which supports music programs for all students in each school. ( in this case a two weeks notice was given to raise the money). Tax payeres can only bear the burden so much, I am tax payer, I also know of many on fixed incomes who cannot afford the taxes.I like many community members support music and sports booster. My fear is, as with many programs that have been cut in the past , marching band will not be reinstated. We can not let that happen..To the marching band members who worked so hard to be prepared for your season ,BE PROUD! You saved a music program! Not the Board of Education, not the music dept. not the Administration. You have given the younger students in Hannibal an opportunity to learn and grow from a program you have come to love. You gave back to your community…that is true character.

  16. I think the board should step back and realize that cutting Mr. Hurnes position and cutting the marching band were the dumbest decisions they’ve ever made. Not only is the band suffering from the loss of marching band but the chorus is suffering too. I was the chorus vice president and the Altos section leader last year and I can’t tell you how much time I invested in that chorus. I was up there as much as my time allowed and I worked with my section in the chorus and made sure those kids got everything I promised them when I made my VP speech. I watched freshman grow into independent singers, do you have any idea how amazing that really is? To watch an individual better themselves? Now all of their hard work will be thrown down the drain. A man who went to college for music, who played and composed music all of his life, who was taught by big time directors and was highly trained in many musical aspects was replaced by a woman who teaches not only French but Spanish? How is this right? How is she qualified? I still can’t believe this. I feel like the high school students are being punished, why should they suffer? Music was the highlight of my high school career, and I know it made me a better person. My senior year I concentrated on my music and ended up top 10 in my class. I know a lot of kids that were in the marching band, all of those kids get good grades and are positive role models to those who don’t care about school. These are your future teachers, politicians, doctors or whatever their hearts desire. I think the board made the wrong decision cutting music programs and pretty much destroying our chorus. I hope the music boosters do what they can to save marching band and hopefully get Mr. Hurne back to the high school. This just isn’t right at all.

  17. I too marched with the “Silent Marching Band”. We, as parents and taxpayers in this district, have to stand up and let our opinions be known when there has been an injustice. The fact that this cut was made with little or no notice to the community, and that the extra teaching position was basically held hostage with marching band’s future in the balance, is unacceptable. And the fact that the community, through Music Boosters, were not even approached to try to save the program through fundraising, shows that the current school administration had made their decision well in advance and were not going to change that position. I don’t blame the music department for choosing the teaching position over marching band, in my opinion it was the only choice that made sense overall, with the choices given to them.
    Over my daughter’s time at Hannibal, we have seen cut after cut to programs that enrich our children’s education. Yes, I understand that we are a cash poor district, and that there are many in the district that cannot afford tax hikes every year, but at what level do we want our children to learn? Music and the arts teach them so much more about life in general – discipline, creativity, teamwork, achievement, and a general betterment of oneself. Those lessons will go on with them throughout their adult lives. If we want to see our children grow up and succeed in their lives, they need a well rounded education, not just the basics.

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