An award-winning high school marching band in New Jersey is being squeezed out of its usual practice location and schedule because neighbors have gotten fed up with the noise.
The Marching Mustangs of Brick Memorial High School were shut down during practice Tuesday night while they were rehearsing in their normal spot, a smooth parking lot behind the school where the painted lines mimic the field.
Residents who called the police asked to remain anonymous but told NBC 4 New York their children can't sleep at night. They live about 200 yards away and said the band's music is very loud.
Jake Solewski, who plays tuba in the band, was crushed to be told he had to go home.
"We are a highly competitive marching band, and without practice we don't get anywhere," he said.
Joe Zurlo, a parent of a band member, said, "We feel like we're second-class citizens. We're being told we can't practice, we're making too much noise. It's a marching band. It's not noise, it's music."
Brick police said in a statement there was a misunderstanding Tuesday night, and they've met with school officials and agreed on a new schedule and new locations. But the band members and their parents say the solution doesn't work for them.
For example, the other options include the school's baseball field, which is not lit and is too bumpy, parents say.
"I think it's not safe and they deserve better," said Jan Rohn.
"If you don't have a steady surface, it's going to end badly," said Solewski.
Rehearsing on the football field, as they did Wednesday night, works very well, but the band can't use it when the football team needs it.
"My son is not a criminal," Rohn said. "He's involved in a very top-notch marching band. We couldn't be prouder of our kids. They come out here and they work very hard."
Parents are hoping for something else to be worked out so the band members can continue to make their community proud.
The Marching Mustangs were Atlantic Coast Champions (Group II) in 2008-2010 and gold medal finalists in 2011-2013, according to the band's website.