All too often the marching arts take a backseat to more traditional sports because of the stereotypes of participating in band. But for Kylie Smith, a member of the band at Walton High School in Florida, playing second fiddle isn't going to fly anymore.
"I feel like people really underestimate what it is that we do," Smith said. "So they just put us on the bottom of the totem pole because they don't consider us a sport."
Recently, Smith decided to take her frustrations and voice them to her school's administration.
Smith penned a letter (full transcript below) laying out examples of when she felt like her band program was not getting the proper support from school officials.
"I felt the need to write this letter for several reasons," Smith wrote. "Ever since I joined band my sophomore year, I have witnessed this program be put on the back-burner time after time. It is saddening to watch this happen to such a hardworking group of dedicated kids."
Smith goes on to list examples of the band and indoor programs struggling to find rehearsal space, an all-too-common occurrence in the marching arts.
"I was also a gold medalist in the winter guard my sophomore year," Smith wrote."And at the pep rally in spring they announced everyone, but mentioned nothing about guard. There are several banners all around the school for sports but none about band."
Smith posted a video of her reading the letter she sent to the school's administration on Facebook. Her words touched a nerve within the marching arts and quickly spread.
Almost 200,000 views later, the video is still making its way through the marching arts community.