To donate

To make a donation toward Redmond High band uniforms, visit gofundme.com/marching-uniforms-for-redmond-high

Redmond High band director Ben Lawson has a personal reason for wanting new marching uniforms by next fall.

“I wore these (uniforms) when I was in high school,” he said. “My son’s going to be here in the band next year, which is kind of gross.”

That odd feeling of wearing hand-me-downs isn’t the only reason Lawson said it’s important to replace the band’s uniforms, which were purchased in 1993. Students wear different sizes nowadays and the aging uniforms require constant alterations, fitting and repairing ripped seams.

“Just being able to have a little pride in what we’re doing,” said Lawson, a 1998 Redmond High graduate.

The way the band is going about raising money is a bit different than it was 25 years ago. A GoFundMe page had raised $1,420 toward its $55,000, goal, as of last week.

The internet is useful in fundraising because former Redmond students around the world can see the page and make donations, Lawson said.

“We want to do everything we can,” he said. “GoFundMe is the easiest one right now, because you can share it online. It’s easy to get to family members across the nation.”

The band, which is expected to grow from 90 to 100 members next year, is also raising money with a “Donors Club.” It offers various levels of gifts, from the $250 “Band Member” level, where the recipient receives “heartfelt appreciation” up to the $5,000 “Concert Master” level. Those donors receive their company name on an advertising banner at band performances for five years, ads in concert programs for three years and an hour performance by the school’s jazz or pep band.

The band is also seeking donations of items to be used in a silent auction.

In all, the band has raised about $2,000 so far, Lawson said.

Lawson might also go before the Redmond School Board early next year to seek additional funding. Each uniform costs around $400.

“We’re not going to go to them and ask for all of it,” Lawson said. “You have to go say we need some help to finish off the rest.”

He hopes to have the money raised by March 22, which would allow the needed seven month advance order before the next time the band is scheduled to wear uniforms at the November 2019 Veterans Day Parade.

The other time band students wear uniforms is for the Starlight Parade on Thanksgiving weekend.

Lawson already has a design in mind for the new uniforms, which would only be the fourth set the band has purchased since the 1950s. They would be a combination of the “Sgt. Pepper’s” uniforms worn in the 1950s and ’60s, the uniforms with “Redmond” written diagonally across the chest worn from the 1970s until the early ‘90s and the current uniforms, which feature a gold and red stripe across the front.

Some band members paid tribute to the earlier bands by wearing old uniforms stored at the school during last month’s Veterans Day Parade downtown.

Senior Kaitlin Brouillard, 17, comes from a family of band members, with two older siblings already graduated, her younger sister a freshman in the band and a younger brother in middle school band. She said she hopes the band will have new uniforms for her siblings to play in.

“When I came in my freshman year, I was really excited to wear the uniforms my siblings wore,” she said. “But, this year, I was like, ‘These uniforms are really old.’ ”

The zippers on the current uniforms don’t always work and they are seeing considerable wear and tear, Brouillard said.

“After you’ve had the same uniforms so many years, you kind of have to replace them,” she said.

Brouillard, who is drum major in the marching band and plays alto saxophone in the wind ensemble and jazz band, has helped lead the initiative for the new uniforms.

“I said this is something I want to be a part of,” she said. “We don’t do senior projects here at Redmond High, but, if I did, this is what I’d want it to be.”

Bands sometimes do large fundraisers for uniforms, instruments or major trips, like when Ridgeview’s band had to raise more than $80,000 for a 2015 performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“Every 10 or 15 years, the band asks the community for support,” Lawson said. “I’m confident that once we go out there, people will support us. Failure is not an option.”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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