Well-known summer band, color guard clinics to stop due to COVID-19 pandemic, company shift

Fairfield marching band performs before their football game against Middletown Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 in Fairfield. Fairfield won 35-13. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Fairfield marching band performs before their football game against Middletown Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 in Fairfield. Fairfield won 35-13. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fred J. Miller Inc., a Miamisburg-based company that provides band and color guard uniforms and ran summer clinics for colleges and universities in color guard, dance team, drum major and band leaders, has announced an end to their FJM Summer Clinics.

“The events of this past year and the subsequent nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us to the realization that it will be a long while before we are comfortable enough to plan such an event which places students in such close contact,” FJM CEO Marlene Miller said in a statement on the company’s website. “We must continue to follow the directives of today while keeping the best interests of our students and faculty in mind. All of that being said, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the FJM Summer Clinic program.”

The clinics began in 1959.

Mary Lynn Dorow, executive vice president and daughter of founders Fred and Marlene Miller, said the summer clinics were canceled last year due to the pandemic. The clinics are done in rented facilities and teachers are brought in from the company to work with the colleges and universities, she said. Last year, there was no way to rent out facilities or gather safely in large groups.

No matter what, Dorow said, there will be challenges this year with the summer clinics: not everyone will be vaccinated, and some facilities may not be open.

She said the face of the business has also changed. The company has grown a lot as a uniform company, she said.

“The summer clinics, they are so educational and they’ve been a big, big part of our lives, but we just had to make a decision at one point what we were going to do due to the pandemic,” Dorow said.

She said over the last 10 years, there has been a move for many colleges and universities to bring in private clinic or personal instruction, where a person teaches at the school instead of the kids going away to a camp. That also factored into the decision, she said.

“But we still do educational programs via Zoom for colleges and universities and such,” she added.

The summer is a busy time for the uniform business as well, Dorow said, and the uniform side of the business is growing.

“The face of the summer clinic program has been changing over the last 10 years, and this just kind of gave us, with COVID, we had to really reevaluate everything,” she said.