North Myrtle Beach band upset they can’t play at state championship game

Grand Strand

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The North Myrtle Beach High School Band will not be allowed to perform at this weekend’s state championship game, according to Band Director Peter DiLeo.

It’s the first time in 51 years North Myrtle Beach is playing in a state championship game, but the band won’t be allowed due to a decision by the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL).

DiLeo said not playing in the championship is especially hard for the seniors, but they’re staying positive despite the circumstances.

“I found out in the middle of last week that they weren’t going to allow the bands to attend,” DiLeo said.

DiLeo said they were not given any clear information other than there is a 2,000 fan limit at the game and allowing bands would take up available seats that could be sold. No instruments will be allowed in the stadium, DiLeo said.

When News13 contacted SCHSL to ask why the decision was made, we were sent this statement:

“Due to COVID guidelines and venue limitations on attendance, we made the difficult decision to not have high school bands in order to accommodate more seating for the general public. Again, this was not an easy decision and we are doing everything we can to make the event available to as many fans as possible. Anyone not attending the games in person can watch on several TV stations around the state (AAA, AAAA, AAAAA) as well as live stream (nfhsnetwork.com) all five for a fee less than one ticket. This allows them to watch all five championship games in addition to other state and national events for one full month. Our social media has information as well as www.schsl.org. Thank you for your support of high school athletics and we look forward to the 2021-2022 football season, hopefully, without the COVID restrictions.”

“They basically said we’re going to sell it to our capacity and we’re not allowing you to take away any of that capacity away from us,” DiLeo said.

Two-thousand fans will be allowed to watch the game. DiLeo said they’ve been playing safely all season in a much smaller space.

“It’s a constant fight trying to advocate for the arts and our programs,” DiLeo said.

DiLeo said students are hurt, especially seniors who will miss out on history in the making.

“If it happens again that’s awesome, but it could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the group of students we have now,” he said.

North Myrtle Beach plays Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Benedict College in Columbia. The band will be sending the team off in grand fashion Saturday morning.

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