Bedford High School senior Sarah Balazs shows off the band uniform the boosters group wants to purchase.
THE BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH
TEMPERANCE — Having finished paying off the cost of the three concession stands at Community Stadium, the Bedford Band and Orchestra Boosters now has its sights on another good deed: It plans to raise $75,000 to $80,000 to buy new marching band uniforms for Bedford High School.
The group needs to raise that amount for 150 uniforms. They would replace the 20-year-old woolen livery band members now wear, said Don Balazs, president of the Boosters.
“The uniforms are old and hot and heavy,” he explained. “The new ones will have lighter fabric that still keeps them warm in cold temperatures, like Under Armour.”
The uniforms are worn in cold weather, to be sure, he noted, but also in warm weather. “In the summer they do a parade in Monroe, and when football season starts, it could still be 80 degrees at night. They have to sit the whole game in the stands,” he said.
Each uniform includes bib-overall pants, a coat, sash, hat, and raincoat. Each piece of clothing has its own number identifying the uniform set to which it belongs, and every year the uniforms are altered by a volunteer to fit the band member wearing it.
District Band Director Cory Meggitt, a Bedford High class of 1995 graduate, said he was the first person to wear the current uniform when it was introduced in the spring of 1994.
“The average shelf life of a band uniform is 8 to 10 years, and ours are just worn,” he said. “We have a great uniform squad, but there just comes a point where there is only so much you can do to repair these uniforms. Plus, styles have changed, and the marching band needs something more up to date.”
The Boosters is a volunteer group, in the process of getting nonprofit status. Its membership consists mostly of parents. Mr. Balazs’ daughter, Sarah, is a senior at the high school who plays tenor sax in the band.
The Boosters plans to ask the Board of Education for a loan to buy the uniforms before the band’s spring trip to Disney World, although the district is emerging from years of deficit spending by cutting costs, including closing two schools.
At the last board meeting, Mr. Balazs presented a ceremonial check to board President Michael Smith representing the last payment on the $235,000 cost of the concession stands, an obligation the boosters have been paying down steadily since 1999.