Archers’ save cancelled Symphonic Band Trip with generous donation

UPDATE: The symphonic band trip has been uncanceled with a generous donation from the Archers, according to student senate president Tiffany Sims. Sims presented this article to the Board of Trustees during its meetings which occurred on Jan. 26-27.

AU symphonic band recently canceled their trip to Chicago due to budget cuts.

Many of the students in the band were upset when they heard the news.

“I’m extremely upset about the trip being canceled,” said Domenic Cole, a member of the symphonic band. “This would’ve been my first trip with the band program. After being involved for three years, it would’ve been extremely rewarding to travel and show what our program can do. Even more so, I feel terrible for some of the students graduating this semester who never got to take a trip.”

Senior Logan O’Lasky said he feels “rather annoyed” at not having the chance to go on the trip to Chicago.

“The last concert band group to go on any sort of trip happened before I even came to school at AU, which is insane considering I’m in my senior year spring semester. I know my classmates and peers are also frustrated with this as we regularly discuss the goings on of the university,” said O’ Lasky.

Jacob Bodnar, a symphonic band member, looked at the benefits this trip offered the band and felt “upset” with the trip being cut right in the middle of planning.

“We use these trips as a recruiting incentive for students to participate in trips for band, choir, etc., here at AU. Sweeping this money out from under our feet so close to the trip happening is a real blow to us,” Bodnar said.

The band members also feel that the administration could have considered where the budgets went more.

“I think the administration could have taken more consideration in the budget-cutting for student activities,” said Hermlinda Abarca, a symphonic band member. “Trips like this are the reasons that musicians learn to branch out and really find their passion for music. This could have been such an amazing learning experience for everyone.”

Cole reflected on a past email sent from public relations with a list of questions and answers about the budget cuts focusing on the question about donor funds.

“I remember reading in a previous public relations email that the university ‘can’t use donor money where it wasn’t intended to go.’ Which is fair, but why aren’t we communicating our needs to donors?” said Cole. “Is a campus facelift really our biggest priority when student activities are suffering? Have we truly exhausted every one of our resources? I get that the idea was to find any extra money for the university to use elsewhere. Regardless of that, when we’re two months out from our trip, is it really just an excess fund that we can scrape into some negative account? One of Ashland University’s most popular phrases is, “Accent the individual.” Instead, they are cutting away goals that we work towards, breaking promises that are made to us, and denying experiences that allow us to grow. There is no more accent on us, and cutting our budgets only furthers that.”

Bodnar looked at the situation with an understanding of the enrollment issue facing AU.

“I understand the administration is under a lot of pressure to make financial changes in light of enrollment coupled with the pandemic these past few years,” said Bodnar. “This is something all colleges are facing right now as this trend is anticipated to continue, but they should have waited until the end of the year to make this specific cut. This way students are not getting their hopes up for a trip that doesn’t even end up happening.”

The effect of the trip being canceled has had an impact on the symphonic band.

Abarca looked at the positive things ahead for the band and believes the band will make it through this tough time.

“The cut of the trip won’t hurt the band,” said Abarca. “As much as it is disappointing that we don’t get our trip, I believe that we still will be the best musicians that we can be. The band is definitely hurt by this important trip being taken away from us, but I think that we will be able to come together and still be able to enjoy the smaller concerts that we have planned for the semester.”

O’Lasky looked at how AU could have benefited from sending the symphonic band on a trip to Chicago.

“It’s affected both the faculty and student body as far as the trip is concerned. We were stoked to be going, and looking forward to playing music for people outside of Ashland,” said O’Lasky. “Not only was it a potential advertisement for students looking to come here for music, but Ashland University as a whole could enjoy more from a happier student body. The cutting of the band trip makes it even harder for future trips to happen. Even if future trips do happen, they won’t be as fun, exciting, or educational as we could have received. Big props to the administration for knowingly depriving students of enriching opportunities and depriving them of the ability to have that meaningful impact in other parts of the country. I know I’m upset I won’t be able to look back at the trip with pride because it simply didn’t happen.”

When asked to comment about the Chicago trip being cut, the director of the bands, Joe Lewis, declined.

The budget cuts have impacted the symphonic band, and only time will tell if another opportunity for a trip happens again.

If any staff, faculty and students know of any cuts to any departments and would like them brought to attention, reach out to The Collegian News Editor, Katelyn Meeks, at [email protected].