Pennsbury Axes Marching Band Trip To China Amid Coronavirus

The Pennsbury High School Marching Band in 2017. Photo via PSD.

The deadly Coronavirus is impacting students in the Pennsbury School District. The school band will no longer be making its trip to China.

At a special meeting last Thursday night, Band Director Frank Mazzeo told the Board of School Directors he had cancelled the band trip to Shanghai. The marching band and jazz band were scheduled to fly over in April.

Mazzeo said trip organizers “scrambled” since late January to find an alternative. He emphasized the school “would never put anyone in harm’s way.”

Now, the band is looking to change the trip to visit Paris, France. If everything works out, students would perform at Disneyland Paris, Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, and at the Eiffel Tower. A fourth itinerary item would include a performance at a local university with French high school students.

One issue Mazzeo and other trip organizers faced was finding a financially similar alternative. A trip to Paris would increase the cost per student about $15, Mazzeo said.

Mazzeo asked the School Board of Directors to make their decision relatively “quickly,” as the trip is only two months away. The band program spent about a year and a half organizing the previously planned trip to China.

The trip would last from Apr. 4 to Apr. 12. 140 students, 20 chaperons and faculty, and almost 70 companions would be taking the flight.

The Coronavirus has made headlines since January for its spread throughout China and now several other countries. An official count puts the number of infected at 40,000 people. The death toll recently surpassed Sars at 908.