NC Central marching band members worried about director's dismissal, future of 'Sound Machine'

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DURHAM, North Carolina — Members of North Carolina Central University's Marching Sound Machine are concerned that while their music is being heard, their voices are falling on deaf ears.

The Herald-Sun of Durham reports ( that band members recently met at an open forum after last month's dismissal of band director Jorim Reid and two staffers. They also discussed the future of the band.

Leonardo Williams, an NCCU alum who served four years as band director at Southern High School in Durham, said the university administration's unexplained decision not to renew Reid's contract could hurt recruitment efforts for the band.

"When you make an abrupt decision like this, it rings an alarm," Williams said.

Marilyn Clements, president of the booster club, wants to know what vision administrators have for the band going forward, adding that she doesn't have any problems with interim band director Thurman Hollins, who starts July 1.

"We don't have a gripe with him," she said. "We will support him. We just want answers."

James Sadler, a sophomore who plays tuba in the band, started an online petition calling for Reid's reinstatement. He and a few other students tried to present that petition to Chancellor Debra Saunders-White and the Board of Trustees on Wednesday morning, but were told they wouldn't be heard "because we didn't properly get on the agenda," Sadler said.

School officials issued a statement saying N.C. Central is committed to providing support for all musical ensembles and providing support for the programs and standards.

"We also see great potential for an even higher level of excellence in the years to come," the statement said.

Two years ago, school officials suspended the band's drum line as they investigated allegations of hazing. The suspension was lifted several weeks later after the investigation found that drum line members participated in activities that violated NCCU's Code of Conduct.

Information from: The Herald-Sun,

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