Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando High band director pleads for help to save program at Parrott Middle

Joseph Harrin is the band director at Hernando High and Parrott Middle schools.

Joseph Harrin is the band director at Hernando High and Parrott Middle schools.

BROOKSVILLE — Band director Joe Harrin stood before the Hernando County School Board last week with an army of students clad in purple and gold at his back.

At issue: the future of Hernando High School's Royale Regiment, the county's oldest and most storied band program.

Due to changing start and end times to the school day across the district next year, Harrin said, he no longer will be able to pull double duty as band director at both Hernando and Parrott Middle School, the high school's primary feeder school, as he did this year.

With no replacement, the pipeline of students to Hernando would disappear, he said, pleading with the board to keep the middle school program alive.

"Without the Parrott Middle School band, in three years there will be nothing left of the Royale Regiment," Harrin told the packed School Board meeting.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the band.

"It is truly heartbreaking as I prepare for this celebration that I will be preparing for its funeral as well," he told board members.

District officials told those in attendance they are working to keep the Parrott program going, which might involve sharing an instructor with another school.

"There is no intention to take away band," superintendent Lori Romano said, adding later: "You have our commitment that we will continue to offer that at Parrott Middle School."

Parrott principal Brent Gaustad told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday that the school is in the process of allocating positions for 2014-15. He didn't expect a resolution anytime soon, saying the school will likely work to find a solution over the summer.

Parrott's band program has had declining enrollment in recent years. But Gaustad, a former first-chair trombone player, said the program is important for the school.

Many people, including students, alumni and members of the community, came to the School Board meeting to speak about the importance of the Royale Regiment, band programs and electives in general.

Hernando band alumnus Annie Kattenhorn said band provides a sense of place for a lot of students.

"We call ourselves a band family, and that's what we are," she told School Board members. "Many of these students do not have a family life at home, and this is where they are accepted. We welcome all — the long, the short and the tall."

Harrin said he was overwhelmed by the show of support.

"I was very proud of the way the parents spoke and the kids spoke," he said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Hernando High band director pleads for help to save program at Parrott Middle 05/12/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2014 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. South Florida poaches debris pickup trucks once slotted for Tampa, officials say

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — A week into the job of picking up an estimated 300,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Irma debris from its streets, Tampa City Hall is finding to its dismay that the challenge is more competitive than expected.

    A city of Tampa truck loaded with debris from Hurricane Irma pulls into a temporary storage yard on N Rome Avenue Friday morning. There, workers from Tetra Tech, the city's debris monitoring contractor, photograph and check the load from an elevated platform to create a record that the city can use later to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  2. Wisniewska: I protected our students and USFSP campus

    Columns

    Throughout my tenure in academia, my focus has always been on putting students first.

    The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
  3. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Along the Alafia River, the grateful extend a hand to the Irma-sodden weary (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    LITHIA — The things that make a house a home dried in the afternoon sun Thursday in a front yard on Williams Street.

    Volunteers from FishHawk Fellowship Church helped Brian Hood (left) clean up debris from his yard in Valrico, Fla. Last week the Alafia River reached a depth of almost 23 feet, about 10 feet above its flood stage. Many homes were damaged, some became uninhabitable. Hood's home is 6 inches above Lithia Pinecrest Road, and did not sustain flood damage, though not all of his neighbors were as lucky.   [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]