Students, alumni want answers about NCCU band director's dismissal

NCCU band members and boosters are demanding answers about the controversial decision to part ways with a popular band director.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
N.C. Central University's band members and band boosters are demanding answers about the controversial decision to part ways with a popular band director.

Three weeks ago, the university did not renew Jorim Reid's contract, but they are not talking about Reid other than to thank him for his service.

Band members, past and present, who spoke out Wednesday night, believe Reid deserves a lot more than that.

The Marching Sound Machine by most accounts is the heart and soul of the historically black university -- uniting students and alumni. Many of whom credit Reid with rebuilding the program over the last decade.

The sound Machine gathered off campus Wednesday night. Many of them were saddened, and some outraged.

"We ended the school year. We did a performance at graduation and two weeks later, it was just a surprise," said band member James Sadler. "We don't have a band director or any stuff now."

Sadler said he delivered 1,900 signatures on a petition to the board of trustees demanding answers on Reid's firing.

"We want to know why and how they went about it," said Sadler.

N.C. Central officials will only say that Reid's firing was part of a strategic decision to pursue a new direction in leadership.

A new band director has been hired, but that hasn't quelled concern here about the future.

"What's happened over the last 20 years or so, we cannot let that happen to the new band director in the current program," said NCCU band alumnus Leonardo Williams. "We have to put a stop to it now."

A new interim band director is set to take over the band on July 1st.

As one speaker put it Wednesday night, he may be walking into a hornet's nest.

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