Residents react to band director’s citation |

Residents react to band director’s citation

by Sheila Gardner

Offers of money, legal counsel and moral support have been pouring in for Douglas High School band director Bill Zabelsky, cited for disturbing the peace a week ago after he led the 80-member marching band through a pre-dawn field show practice.

“My phone has literally been ringing off the hook,” Zabelsky said Thursday. “I am excited about the community support that we have for this band and the appreciation the kids get for what they do.”

Zabelsky was cited last Saturday by an off-duty Douglas County sheriff’s investigator after the band tuned up at 6:30 a.m. on the high school football fieldnext to the Westwood subdivision. The officer, who lives in Westwood, said he was responding to complaints by neighbors who were awakened by the band practice.

Zabelsky was warming up the band for a University of Nevada, Reno field show later that morning.

“I haven’t received any calls that were against what the band did. We’ve had a lot of calls in total support,” he said.

Two Reno radio stations offered to pay the $165 fine which accompanies the citation if Zabelsky is convicted of disturbing the peace. He has a Nov. 18 court date before East Fork Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl.

Closer to home, residents have offered to pay the fine and Minden attorney George Keele said he would represent Zabelsky for free.

On Wednesday, the band marched near the Douglas County Library in preparation for today’s Nevada Day parade.

“A lot of people in the neighborhood were clapping as we walked by,” Zabelsky said. “We moved away from the Westwood neighborhood this time because we didn’t want to further aggravate the residents.”

DHS Principal Bev Jeans said even though the high school was built before the Westwood subdivision, “We want to be good neighbors.”

– Proactive approach. Next year, she said, the school plans to notify Westwood residents in advance of any early morning rehearsals. Jeans said she would recommend that the band rehearsal begin at 7 a.m.

“These people had a football game the night before with late night lights and noise,” she said. “Then, at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, the band started practicing with the lights on the field. I think we could be a little more proactive next year.”

She also said if a fine has to be paid, the school would take care of it.

“I think that’s our responsibility to pay that citation,” she said.

Zabelsky said the band members were excited about today’s Nevada Day parade.

“The kids are sky high and having fun,” he said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do, but we’ve been practicing a lot and I’ve never seen them look better.”

Zabelsky said he wanted to thank the school administration and the community for their support.

“That’s the silver lining to this situation. Sometimes I wonder if anybody is out there listening to us. Now we know how much the community supports us,” he said.

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