Music Department Minnesota Trip Canceled Due to COVID-19 Concerns


A message from Doug Brown, Steve Kurr, Jamie Pitt, Eric Rothacker, and Mike Ver Voort announcing the cancellation of the MHS Music Department’s trip to Minneapolis, MN.

By Aaron Boorstein and Andrew Stine

On Thursday, March 12, MCPASD leadership canceled the Middleton High School Music Department’s Minnesota trip due to concerns regarding the novel coronavirus: COVID-19

“The trip was canceled, I believe, because the Governor of Wisconsin declared a State of Emergency, and the CDC decreed that travel to states where more than ten cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed was not recommended. Yesterday [Wednesday, March 11], Minnesota had five, and today [Thursday, March 12] has nine. The likelihood that there will be ten plus tomorrow [Friday, March 13] is extremely high,” says MHS orchestra teacher Steve Kurr.

MHS students, staff, and parents were scheduled to leave for Minneapolis, MN, by bus on Friday, March 13, and return on Sunday, March 15. The trip would have included visits to the Mall of America, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, the Brave New Workshop, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Michael Ver Voort, MHS Music Teacher and Director of Bands, says that the decision to cancel the trip was made by the District Leadership Team, “a set of top-level administrators in the district.” This team is “responsible for all of the events . . . everything for trips like this to athletic events and large scale meetings.”

On the morning of March 12, MHS Music Department directors and teachers Doug Brown (Band), Steve Kurr (Orchestra), Jamie Pitt (Choir), Eric Rothacker (Band), and Michael Ver Voort (Band) sent an email to the students, parents, and families of the MHS Music Department announcing the cancellation of the trip.

The email notes that the district is unable to provide any refunds for the $336 trip cost: “Unfortunately, they [MCPASD] will not be able to offer any refunds or waive fees.” 

In addition to the cancellation of the Minnesota trip, an email from Ver Voort to band families shared that they will also be canceling a scheduled trip to Kansas City, MO. The MHS 7:00 and 6:00A Jazz Band’s were set to participate in the Basically Basie Jazz Heritage Competition from April 22-24. While students have already paid for this trip, the email shared that “trip monies will be refunded.”

Spring Supper, an annual BOPA fundraising event where MHS Band and Orchestra students perform, and a silent auction is held, has also been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. This well-attended event was scheduled for Saturday, April 4, from 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm in the MHS Courtyard.​ It’s still unknown whether ticket purchases, which ranged from $10 to $23, will be refunded.

The long term impact of these cancellations on the MHS Band, Orchestra, and Choir programs are unknown; however, Ver Voort notes that they will work towards new goals: “It’s going to be a little different because some of the events we were working towards are not happening. So now we are going to be working to find meaningful goals to achieve.”

This story was originally published on The Cardinal Chronicle on March 13, 2020.