After the Big Ten Conference announced the return of football for the 2020 season, there has been lots of excitement.
The conference and each university have announced stringent protocols to ensure that every player on each team will be safe. Although, there has been no plan for the marching bands of each university. How will each university allow their marching bands to perform? How can there be fair accommodations for both activities, while keeping everyone safe? In all honesty, the root of this situation is that our society has decided that it is much more important to support athletics over the arts.
For the longest time, our world has endured the war between sports and fine arts. We can see this most clearly in smaller, rural communities much rather than heavily populated areas, but that does not mean that it doesn’t exist in places, such as Lincoln and Omaha.
As someone who hails from the panhandle of Nebraska, I believe that we’ve been indoctrinated by the idea that sporting events are much more important than supporting the arts. There were always sports teams that elementary students could join to pique their interest in that capacity, but there was hardly any artistic equivalent.
In high school, there was the idea to always go to football games and basketball games, but avoid going to band and choir concerts. Even recently, our own university has cut the dance program for funds. There is such a double standard and at times, it really seems unfair to those students who pour their hearts into their crafts. During my sophomore year of high school, I was a part of the One Act production of “Medea.” We thought it would be a great idea to perform for the school, but throughout the show, everyone was laughing and making fun of the storyline and our work. As humans, we all want to feel included and we all want our work to be appreciated.
As a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band and a music education major, it is extremely disappointing that mass amounts of people are glazing over the fact that fine arts students are not getting the same treatment and having to sacrifice more. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Husker football, and I understand why football is such an important thing in our state, but students are not playing football for degree credit. For some students, such as myself, we get credit to be in a music ensemble.
Directors of bands and choirs have had to find creative ways to have rehearsals, and most of the time, groups are not rehearsing as full ensembles. Football players get to at least have a broadcasted game, even though there may not be fans in the stands. But music ensembles cannot have recorded concerts, because we can’t even practice as a whole.
When it comes to the work that goes into a football game or a piece in an orchestra concert, we all want that work to be appreciated and acknowledged. Every day, we benefit from the arts by listening to music or admiring the sculptures and architecture that are showcased around campus. It does show support, but we can also show support to our local artists and students that are involved in the fine arts.
When it’s safe to do so, go to a local band’s concert or a theatre performance, or even just take a walk through the Sheldon. It’s simple things like this to show appreciation for artists and those who do their work in these capacities.
Not only is it beneficial for the artists, but it’s also beneficial for people who may not be initially interested in fine arts. Trying something different may pique your interest within that capacity. For example, a couple of years ago, I tried ziplining for the very first time, and while I wasn’t too excited to try it, it ended up being an experience that I wish I could relive. Now, I relish any opportunity to zipline.
Ultimately, our society has decided that athletics — in particular, football — are more important than the marching band. Still, there is no plan for marching bands to perform live during the season. By becoming more inclusive and appreciating both sides of the coin, then we can have a better understanding of both interests.
Adam Flowers is a freshman music education major. Reach him at email@example.com