Band banks on nostalgia to replace uniforms [UPDATED]Published 3:59am Monday, October 28, 2013 Updated 6:00am Monday, October 28, 2013
There’s something about white uniforms.
They get dirty easily. Students are not supposed to use the bathroom or eat food while wearing them. They are not even meant to go on the grass in the uniforms.
But for all the care required to keep the Kennedy Secondary School’s marching band’s white uniforms clean, it is worth it when the band performs in them.
“Seeing that band coming down the street in the white uniforms in the dark, it just gives you chills,” band booster Theresa Lee said.
But after 20 years, the band has decided it is time to get new uniforms. Although they still look good from a far, Kummrow said the metallic bands on the hats are beginning to rust and buttons are becoming harder and harder to replace when they fall off, among other problems.
“I don’t think anybody expected these uniforms to last 20 years,” Kummrow said.
Kummrow and band boosters began putting together a plan for new uniforms a few years ago. At first, it was meant to be a five-year fundraising project, but after returning from their 2013 presidential inauguration performance, the band had an unexpected surplus and began moving forward with the uniform plan.
With that surplus, coupled with an anonymous donation, the uniform fund now sits at around $47,000. Kummrow and Lee would like to raise approximately $30,000 to be able to buy the new marching band uniforms, as well as color guard uniforms and a new marching band trailer.
New uniforms does not mean going in a completely different direction. For Kummrow, it is important for the new uniforms to reflect the style of the band.
“It was important for us to find something that matched the traditional values we have with our marching,” he said. “I don’t want the traditional marching stuff to just vanish.”
That means the new uniforms will not be too edgy or flashy. Kummrow and the members of the uniform committee have looked at several designs but focused on retaining a traditional look, one more in line with the band’s discipline and precision. Thus, the new uniforms should resemble the current ones in some ways.
Fundraising for the uniforms has not yet begun in earnest, as Kummrow would like to have a final dollar value in place before setting fundraising goals. He hopes to have the final uniform sketch in a week or so. After that, it will be a matter of going through color swatches and uniform fabrics to best fit what the uniform committee decided on for the final product.
The goal is to have the new uniforms ready for spring 2014, in time for the next marching season. But there certainly is a chance the uniforms could not be ready until 2015, Kummrow said.
When the final fundraising goals are set, the first goal will be to sell all the old uniforms. Kummrow estimated each new uniform will cost around $250. For that price, people will be able to purchase an old uniform to keep for themselves.
Lee said her two children, both in the marching band, will be buying their uniforms.
“There’s certainly a lot of nostalgia that goes with that,” Kummrow said. “I can see wanting to have one. We could try to sell these uniforms and get some money for them, not a lot, or we could offer them to people who would want them and would like to have them for their kids someday.”
The current uniforms, first used in 1993, have been all over the country. The band has performed in them in Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle and Boston. They have been through two band directors, Kummrow and Jim Iverson. Kummrow has even performed in them as a member of the band in the 1990s.
“I’ve been able to watch a few parades from the spectator point of view,” Iverson said. “When they come down the street in that block with their uniforms, it is very impressive.”
It will soon be time to start making memories with the new uniforms.