MASON — A check in memory of a former member has pushed the Wahama White Falcon Marching Band to its fundraising goal to purchase new uniforms, but the new gear will not be seen by as many as the musicians would like this year.
The donation of $1,800 was made in memory of Jackie Ridgway, who graduated from Wahama in 1980 and was a member of the band. The money was given by her husband, who asked that only Jackie’s name be mentioned.
According to Matt Bradley, band director, the uniforms have already been ordered. He said they should arrive sometime during football season, although the year will be looking quite different for the members.
Due to the Coronavirus, the band will not be traveling to competitions, and even away football games are uncertain right now.
“We had a whole competition show planned, but we are just saving it until next year,” he said.
No field commander was chosen this year, because the band members will not be doing field maneuvers at halftime of the football games. The traditional band camp was eliminated, and instead outside music practice was held with distancing. Groups of like instruments were formed, including woodwinds, percussion, and brass, as well as flags.
“We will be playing a lot from the stands,” Bradley said, “and there will be little marching because the members have to stand apart.”
The director said the halftime music will be numbers everyone will recognize. “Country Roads,” “Amazing Grace,” and a John Philip Sousa marching arrangement will be among the selections.
Even though the band’s new uniforms will not be able to be shown off as much as members would have liked, Bradley said they appreciate all of the support in ways of sponsorships and donations. He especially thanked Bitanga’s “Save the Music” program, which “jump started” fundraising efforts. Over $10,000 was donated to the band after the third annual Bitanga’s Breakathon.
The new uniforms will feature red jackets and white pants. Instead of the present crossbelts, they will have a wide sash bearing the school’s name. The red helmet has a mirrored front that will reflect sun or field light. The final accessory will be a large white plume worn atop the hat.
The uniforms were $650 each, with the total being nearly $41,000. They are replacing ones that are over 16 years old. Many fundraising events, including a benefit bingo, were halted in March due to COVID-19. That is when the boosters organization concentrated their efforts on having businesses and individuals sponsor a uniform or make a donation. Original plans were for the uniforms to be delivered around the first of July.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com