LAWRENCE, Kan. — High school musicians participating in this year’s University of Kansas Band Day won’t be strutting their stuff at Memorial Stadium after nearly 70 years of doing so.
The university has welcomed hundreds of young musicians from Missouri and Kansas high schools each year to perform alongside its Marching Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
This year’s event Sept. 9 will keep the traditional parade through downtown before the game, but it won’t host a mass band performance on the field during the football game against Central Michigan.
Matthew Smith, associate director of bands at the university’s School of Music, said organizers attribute the change to a combination of dwindling interest from high schools, reduced parking space and other “logistical” challenges, such as limited storage space for large instruments.
“Over the years, you see trends,” Smith said. “So in response to that, we made a decision this year.”
The event next month would’ve marked the first time tiny McLouth High School participated in the Memorial Stadium halftime show. Jacob Bubb, the school’s director of bands, said his students were disappointed by the cancellation of this year’s halftime show.
“I think it would have been cool, especially for my kids because we’re in a small town,” he said of performing at Memorial Stadium. “And a lot of those kids, when they think about KU basketball and football, that means the world to them.”
Smith said the decision is permanent but that organizers may revisit the idea of a Memorial Stadium performance in the future.