Dear Editor,

It was recently brought to my attention that our PVHS Band director, Drew Etheredge, completed an application and approached our local Tourism Board to pay for the cost of feeding the University of Oklahoma Band a meal when they stop to practice and perform for our community and students on their way down to the Texas game.

The Tourism Board has generously done this for several years. However, this year they denied the request stating that this event does not meet the tourism criteria.

This event is advertised and the community and the public are invited to attend free of charge. The collegiate bands that have done this for several years are impressed and so appreciative of the generosity of our small town.

I am unclear and uncertain why this event suddenly does not meet the criteria.

What is the purpose of “tourism” funding and how does it constitute as a community project that falls under that category?

Is this not a community event that brings people from our community and surrounding areas into Pauls Valley?

Our community is not wealthy and many of our students will never have the opportunity to see a college band perform.

This event has inspired some of our high school students to audition and become collegiate band members. My son is currently a tuba player for the Oklahoma State University Marching Band.

Mr. Etheredge promotes and invites schools in the surrounding areas to come. Inviting, hosting, and providing the University of Oklahoma and/or Oklahoma State University is an opportunity for our town to receive some much needed positivity purely from being hospitable. It also provides our students the exposure to a piece of college.

Of course, the members of this community are digging into their own pockets to help provide a meal for the Pride of Oklahoma. I wouldn’t expect anything different.

However, my intent was not to encourage the individuals and businesses to give. I merely wanted the Tourism Board to rethink and reverse their decision.

I encourage the taxpaying citizens of Pauls Valley to contact the Tourism Board and ask them to fund this event.

Marnie Crawford

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