After 26 years in the same uniforms, the Redmond High band is ready to show off its new duds.
The band raised $51,500, all through private donations, to go toward the uniforms. Band director Ben Lawson ordered the uniforms in March and said they arrived in August, earlier than expected.
“They feel a lot cleaner and less used,” said senior French horn player Whitney Johnson. “It’s just nice to be able to represent the school in modern, rather than, let’s say historic, clothing.”
Money for the uniforms came from a GoFundMe page, as well as donations from organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Grange Hall, Lawson said. Other money came from an alumni band event and silent auction, as well as fundraising on Facebook.
“Every single organization in town helped support it,” he said.
In all, more than 100 individual donors helped out, Lawson said.
The band plans to debut the uniforms in November at the downtown Veterans Day Parade. They will again wear them at the Nov. 30 Starlight Parade.
So they can make sure the uniforms last another 20 years, those are the only two events where the band marches in the uniforms.
Last year, Lawson said he might have to go before the Redmond School District board to make up the difference between what was donated and the money needed for the uniforms.
While the fundraising was a little short when the money was placed, the band was quickly able to make up the difference.
“It was nice to know that the community was able to support it on its own,” he said.
The mostly black and maroon uniforms include features from the outfits the band has worn over the years, Lawson said. The gold stripes across the chest resemble the uniforms purchased in the 1950s, the diagonal “Redmond” looks like the 1970s uniforms and an arching pattern resembles the uniforms worn until last year.
“It’s a traditional look with some modern aspects to it,” Lawson said.
The band ordered about 125 uniforms, even though it only has 80 members this year, Lawson said. That will allow it to have uniforms for when the band grows and also make adjustments based on what sizes kids are wearing in a particular year.
“Everyone will be able to have a uniform that fits properly,” he said. “We won’t have to spend time repairing and altering uniforms.”
Lawson is grateful to the community.
“It’s nice to feel appreciated,” he said. “If we need something, it’s nice that people in the community will support music and the arts in town.”
Last year, drum major Kaitlin Brouillard was a leader among the band members in fundraising. While Kaitlin has graduated, her sister, Nicole, a sophomore French horn player, gets to wear the uniforms.
“I’m really happy,” said Nicole, who comes from a family of band members. “I’m glad it all worked out. It’s the big feeling of success that we did it.”
Now, the students look forward to showing the uniforms off to the community.
“They were a huge contributor to this,” Johnson said. “It means everything to us. To be quite honest, if they didn’t help, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get these.”
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