After reading the letters of Mr. Ray and Mr. Lominac published on August 13, I have a much greater insight into the pressures exerted upon a band of local music educators.

I write in support of these excellent teachers, who have drawn criticism in this case for not participating in the Old Soldiers Reunion Parade. The entire situation goes well above and beyond the goals and expectations of a program of music education. And, the intimidation brought to bear by a member of its own organizing committee in my opinion discredits what might be a noble enterprise.

Yes, Mr. Lominac, it’s more than the hot weather you reference. As I’m sure you must appreciate, given your support for soldiers who came together in bands of defense in the name of our United States, the strength of a band of people come in their bonds and support for one another. While I do not direct one of these bands, I would not put my band in a situation where its members would be asked to opt out, to segregate themselves, from lending support to an organization that they are uncomfortable being associated.

Mr. Ray, the battle flag that you consider a fading distant memory is still being raised, an icon writ large upon the interstates of North Carolina. It is still used in intimidation, in response to other sociopolitical events of the current day.

These music education programs demonstrate a strong presence in support of the local community throughout the year. Their marching band shows have even demonstrated a tribute to such patriots who serve and defend our nation. Rather than shun these bands, as Mr. Ray asks, I would urge the community to support these noble enterprises that educate, enlighten, and enrich our community at large. These bands challenge our students with dedicated commitment to hard work, betterment, and enriching the human condition through the arts. They are among the finest activities I can recommend for our youth, and deserve better than a self-serving criticism in the paper for not taking part in a particular event.

Chris Nigrelli

Hickory, NC

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