Could Tigers march again?

Could Princeton have a band in future Rum River Festival parades?
If so, it would be music to the ears of School Board Member Howard Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt, at a Aug. 1 meeting of the School District’s activities committee, asked that district officials look into the feasibility of returning a marching band to the city’s annual summer parade. A marching band program fell victim to budget cuts a few years ago, and recent attempts to revive the a band have not been met with open arms by some members of the district’s music departments.
But a lack of a band has become highly noticed within the community, Vaillancourt argued.
“It’s embarrassing that Milaca sends three bands to our parade, including a junior high band,” Vaillancourt told members of the activities committee.
Vaillancourt also shot down comments he has heard from some within the music program that marching bands are a dying thing. In the region alone, Elk River, Zimmerman, Rogers, Milaca, St. Cloud Cathedral, Foley, St. Francis, St. Michael-Albetville, and Buffalo — to name a few — all have marching bands, Vaillancourt said.
“It’s not a dying thing,” Vaillancourt said.
The lack of a band might be a factor families cite when deciding to enroll in a neighboring school district, School District officials said.
One option discussed at the Aug. 1 committee meeting was putting together a band for a short period of time — such as a week or two — at the middle school level through the community education program to field a band for the Rum River Festival parade.
“That would appease a lot of people in the community,” Vaillancourt said.
Superintendent Julia Espe said school administrators would look into the band issue but noted it might be a challenge finding a staff member to take on the challenge of leading a marching band.
“It’s hard to have a wonderful, thriving marching band if there is not someone on staff to lead it,” Espe said. Espe also noted that there would be a cost involved in starting up a band program.
Before the discussion ended, School Board Member Craig Johnson acknowledged that not having a band in the annual parade has garnered some negative conversation within the community, but he doesn’t believe it is the No. 1 complaint among parade-goers.
“I think it’s third on the list of complaints,” Johnson said.
What tops Johnson’s list?
The fact that the Chamber of Commerce allows about 15 bands in the parade, causing the event to stretch on for close to three hours, he said.

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