Neighbor complains of noise from marching band

The Carson High School Blue Thunder marching band practices Wednesday afternoon in the south parking lot of the school.   A neighbor is complaining of the noise from their and wants them to change either the time or the location of their rehearsals.

The Carson High School Blue Thunder marching band practices Wednesday afternoon in the south parking lot of the school. A neighbor is complaining of the noise from their and wants them to change either the time or the location of their rehearsals.

The Blue Thunder Marching Band ended its Tuesday evening rehearsal on a sour note.

A Carson City sheriff's deputy warned director Robert Brooks that a citation would be issued if the band was not silent by 7:30 p.m., following a complaint called in by a neighbor.

"I don't want them not to practice, I just don't want them to practice outside my window," said Katie Benzler, who lives across the street from Carson High School. "They have the right to be there but we also have the right to eat dinner in peace from 5 to 8:30 at night."

She has called the police three times and the school another three times since Sept. 3 for noise that, she said, makes it nearly impossible to talk on the phone or hear the television.

Deputies responded again Tuesday evening.

"If anybody calls with a noise complaint of any kind, we'll respond," explained Lt. Bev Moltz. "We'll ask any of the parties who are making the noise to calm it down."

Brooks sent band members home an hour early but said the lost practice time set them behind schedule.

"We're trying to do things here that have never been done before -- a really intense program," Brooks said. "The level we're trying to produce demands a lot."

Benzler lives with her sister in an apartment facing the high school on the west side of Saliman Road. Incidentally, the road is named after former Carson High School band director Al Saliman, who was known for his energy and pep.

It is the Benzlers' first year living near the high school and Katie Benzler said they were first bothered by the music in August during band camp.

"I thought, just be patient. But three months later, it hasn't gone away," she said. "I just can't be quiet about it any longer."

Benzler met with Brooks, Principal Glen Adair and other officials Wednesday morning to try to find a compromise.

The band has been practicing in the school's south parking lot from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Brooks said he would change either the time or location of the rehearsals in an attempt to create harmony, but was concerned about shifting the schedules of 200 students and their parents. He said the students also have the positions of their marching drills marked on the pavement of the parking lot.

"To change things right now is an inconvenience, but we have to try to get along with our neighbors," he said. "I'm confident we'll work something out."

He said he never intended to offend people living nearby.

"I can sympathize with their situation," he said. "We were just doing what we needed to do. I just want to teach music."

This isn't the first time a high school band has hit a dissonant chord with neighbors.

In 1998, an off-duty sheriff's investigator issued a citation accusing Douglas High School band director Bill Zabelsky of disturbing the peace, an infraction that carries a $165 fine.

Zabelsky was practicing with his students at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday. After an outpouring of community support, the citation was dropped.

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