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gargoyle Aussies ban American Bands (105* d) RE: Aussies ban American Bands 04 Jul 99

From Sydney Morning Hearld Monday, July 05, 1999.

SOCOG's attempt to put a lid on the marching bands fiasco collapsed last night after its compromise offer was rejected by United States band leaders and the company organising the event.

World Projects Corporation said it would not agree to any new Sydney 2000 roles without the support of the bands.

The compromise, reached after SOCOG held an emergency weekend phone conference, involved US and Japanese bands performing at preliminary soccer matches in Canberra and at events at the Opera House and Darling Harbour - but not at the opening ceremony as originally planned.

One Californian band director, Mr Roy Anthony, said he was shocked and disappointed by the deal. "This is not enough, this is unacceptable. You can't equate the two. You can't take away something if you are not going to give us back something of equal value, and this is not of equal value."

Mr Anthony and five other band directors will arrive in Sydney tonight.

A statement from the president of World Projects, Mr William Lutt, said: "A revised contract will be considered if Olympic performance venues are accepted by the foreign and Australian Sydney 2000 Olympic band delegation."

The Minister for the Olympics, Mr Knight, said he had an "in-principle agreement" on the compromise with World Projects but not a written contract.A SOCOG spokesman said later there was a written agreement but refused to release a copy.

One of the high school students who was to perform, 16-year-old San Diego baton-twirler Melissa Scholton, said: "It's hypocrisy to an extreme - to say you can have something and then take it back. It really hurts me. There's people and feelings behind the instruments."

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