As a HD at a small 3a, I tell them that band isn't a cafeteria, and they either do all or nothing. I've had the problem both ways with students liking either marching or concert, and not wanting to do the other. They end up grumbling about it a little bit at first, but most of the time, they suck it up and stick with it, and in the end, they're glad that they did.
These were special individual cases, but I have allowed a few kids to play their wind instruments in the stands, and then play pit percussion on the field. It worked out tremendously-- in fact, they ended up becoming better mallet players than most of my percussion. Again, these were a few kids that I was certain would work hard to be successful at it-- I wouldn't let just anybody do that.
As the new head director, they're going to test you. It's just a fact of life. If it were me, I would put my foot down and say no. I would also explain to them individually why they're needed in marching band. If anyone quits, so be it-- build for the future with the kids you have.
Best of luck!
So I have taken a new job and have had a few students request to NOT do marching band and only do concert band. I have mixed feelings about it as I know concert and marching band are quite different. Usually I have the opposite problem.
These are top band players mostly. It has been allowed in the past and of course students are using that to try and persuade me. My concern is that if I allow it, I will continually have to combat this. What have you done with students who have made this request?
And these are mostly kids that have done at least one year of marching band.