Lack of Funding Turns Volume Down on Top High School Marching Band

The Woodrow Wilson High School band has students marching without instruments because it can't afford repairs

The Woodrow Wilson Wildcat Band should be on cloud nine.

It's the best marching band in the Dallas Independent School District (they won the UIL Sweepstakes last school year), about to play at The Star in Frisco for the first time on Thursday.

But the volume of its music will be turned down -- all over a lack of funding.

The band fine tunes its sound and choreography every weekday morning. About 130 members practice formations over and over.

Several of the young musicians are so committed to the band, they continue to practice each morning despite instruments that are broken or in need of repair.

"They're just holding it, not making any sounds," band director Chris Evetts said

"We have about, in total, about six or seven heads that are busted," said senior Daniel Cavasos, who is a member of the drumline.

If you look closely as the students practice, you'll notice about 10 aren't holding anything in their hands.

"I'm scrambling to put something into their hands so that it's essentially a prop," Evetts said.

He said about half of the instruments are borrowed from their feeder middle school and are only beginner-level quality instruments.

"Actually this is Highland Park's," said sophomore Ben Haynes, looking at his borrowed sousaphone. "We have three sousaphones that aren't working right now and they're just marching sousaphones that they can't play. So it's just a heavy weight and no real point but just for show."

Evetts said a lack of money in the budget and an increased number of students wanting to join the award-winning program has led them here.

Boosters are trying to raise money to help.

"I'm not going to say it's DISD's fault or this, I don't want to make excuses. Let's fix this," said Henda Salmeron, a Woodrow Wilson booster supporter. "If everyone in the community helps every 20, 30, 40, $50 donation to this instrument fund can help us solve this problem.”

The booster club set up a GoFundMe page to help the band buy instruments.

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