Elkhart loses 4th of July band to sequester cuts - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart loses 4th of July band to sequester cuts


Many organizations have been affected by the federal budget cuts known as the sequester.

Now, Karin Frey, superintendent of Elkhart's Parks and Recreation Department says even your July 4th plans will see the impact. "It's a disappointment to the city."

Frey says the United States Army Field Band has visited the city three times. "They draw an enormous crowd, they're energetic, they show exactly what America is made of and that's what we were hoping for."

Frey says they booked the band a year ago to perform on July 3rd and scheduled all the festivities around them. "Everything was a go until almost the end of April when we were informed that they were no longer able to travel to Indiana."

The band's spokesperson, Jonathon Agee says travel is restricted to a 100 mile radius from their home base at Ft. Meade in Maryland. They blame the restriction on the sequester. "Where we would normally go out and tour the United States 100 days out of the year, we are now restricted to a local area."

He says the Department of Defense's budget was reduced by 37 billion dollars and band performances and ceremonies were among the first to be cut back. "Any ways that we can save in other areas to support the folks on the front line I believe is as at least what this is going toward."

Because of their restrictions, he says the band is only doing local performances. "There's whole sections of the country that we are no longer reaching and people that are looking forward to these performances that are going to be disappointed because we're not able to come out there at this point."

Agee says they hope the sequester will be over soon so they can get back to their normal performance schedule.

Frey hopes -- if and when they do -- they'll make another trip to Elkhart. "We always keep our fingers crossed that next year that moratorium will be lifted. It's a great honor when we bring them to Elkhart."

Frey says even with the last minute changes, they were able to get a local band to fill in for Wednesday night's performance.

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