Make your voice heard!

Please send a message to the school board and the superintendent showing your support for Drumline.

Over the past few months, there have been thousands of social media posts concerning the future of the world-renowned Upper Darby High School Drumline program. The nationally and internationally recognized UDHS Drumline is in danger of being discontinued in the upcoming school year, despite the fact that more than 1500 people have signed a petition to keep this important extra-curricular activity intact as part of the high school program. After meeting with district administrators, the Co-President of the Upper Darby Band and Orchestra Parents (UDBOP), Diane Tyson, recently sent a heart-felt letter to the School Board Directors that she has agreed to allow UDPC to share:


To: Upper Darby School Board, June 25, 2016

Attention: Judy Gentile, Ken Rucci, Maureen Carey, Rachel Mitchell, Lee Ann Jordan, Heather Boyd, Manjit Singh, Earl Toole, Patrick Grant, Francis Catania

I am writing to the members of the Upper Darby School Board because I would like to explain what the parents and supporters of the Indoor Drumline have been going through.

First a little background about myself. My name is Diane Tyson and I am co-president of the Upper Darby Band and Orchestra Parents Organization. My children and I have always been very proud to be a part of the Upper Darby School District and feel a strong family connection because my children’s great grandfather was the former Principal of the High School and Superintendent of the School District, John H. Tyson. We know that he loved Upper Darby and that he devoted his life to this School District.

I got involved with UDBOP because I truly wanted to help this organization and support my daughter, Grace, and her interest in the instrumental music program. Grace has been studying mallet percussion, (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone) since the summer of 2008, from the age of 8 years old, just prior to her starting third grade. She began her percussion lessons by taking advantage of the summer music lessons that are offered through the Upper Darby Recreation Department. She was lucky enough to take lessons from her soon to be Music Teacher, Mr. Chris Kulp.

She had been looking forward to being a member of the Marching Band and Indoor Drumline because she used to watch her big brother when he was in the band, from 2003-2007. I knew what a great experience being a part of the Band had been for my son and was looking forward to my daughter having the same experience times two, since she wanted to do both Band and Drumline.

Unfortunately this past March 2016, half of my daughter’s dream has turned into a nightmare, because without any discussion it was decided by the current Band Director that he was ending Indoor Drumline.

If a world renowned, award winning program like the Upper Darby Indoor Drumline, that is a shining star and point of pride for not only the School District but also the community can be that easily eliminated, how much of a chance does a less acclaimed extra-curricular activity stand.

Initially the reason that the director gave was due to financial reasons, however we came to find out later that this was not true. He also alluded that he was under too much stress trying to do both Band and Drumline, but then we found out that he had discussed the elimination of Drumline with the Principal as early as September 2015, before the Drumline season had even begun.

It is now our belief that the Director just does not want to lead the Drumline and because he knew that the parents would be upset, he avoided asking them for their opinions or suggestions and has tried to smooth things over by replacing the Drumline with a non-competitive percussion ensemble and promoting it as an expansion to the program which it is not, and in truth he is eliminating the Drumline.

All these decisions were made without any discussion with any of the involved parents, who work hard, day in and day out, to support their children, who are involved in this world renowned and award winning group. We don’t understand why he is not willing to allow someone else to fill the role of being the director of the Drumline. The parents accept that the field of percussion is not everyone’s passion. But they don’t accept that the students should suffer because it is not his passion. Especially when there might be someone else who would be willing to step in and lead these amazingly talented students and allow it to continue as an extra-curricular activity.

We just want you to know how unfair it is for only one person to make this kind of decision without allowing any input or discussion from the parents. He did not even try to come up with other solutions for keeping the Drumline.

We also feel that it sets a dangerous precedent for all extra-curricular activities in the Upper Darby School District. What guarantee does any student have that any group that they are involved in is not yanked away from them in the blink of an eye, just because one teacher decides that this is “the direction that he wants to take” and justifying it by claiming that it is “in the best interests of the students”. Where is the proof that it is in the best interests of the students?

Many of these students have received scholarships as a direct result of being a part of this Drumline. What more proof do you need than that, the Drumline, as it exists, is already in the best interest of the students. Did he even take that into consideration, we don’t know, because he never asked anyone.

If a world renowned, award winning program like the Upper Darby Indoor Drumline, that is a shining star and point of pride for not only the School District but also the community can be that easily eliminated, how much of a chance does a less acclaimed extra-curricular activity stand.

Sincerely,

Diane Tyson
Proud Parent and
Co-President of UDBOP

Please send a message to the school board and the superintendent showing your support for Drumline by e-mailing udsdschoolboard@upperdarbysd.org.

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4 Responses to Drumline, to be continued?

  1. Nancy Hartsock says:

    I wrote to the school board tonight. Thank you for telling us the truth.

  2. drvanslyke says:

    Same thing happened to the DECA program, which was severely diminished this past year after the removal of the staff advisor without any explanation. The administration does not care about the education of the students. There is little attempt to even conceal that fact anymore. Personal agendas of individual administrators are all that matters.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sent an email to the school board

  4. Nancy H says:

    Dear Diana and friends…please don’t give up on the drumline. I spoke with someone on the School Board this afternoon because of an email I sent. She said they are reading all the emails and gathering as much info as possible. Some emails they can’t follow up with by phone because there is no contact info provided. I provided contact info and got a call. There are members of the School Board who want to drumline to remain, please do not give up.

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