MASON — The down payment has been made, and now members of the Wahama White Falcon Marching Band are depending on the community to help them realize their goal of getting new uniforms.
The uniforms cost $650 each, with the total coming to nearly $41,000, according to Band Director Matthew Bradley. They will replace ones that are over 16 years old.
The age of the present uniforms present a problem itself, according to Courtney Weaver, a member of the band boosters. She said the number of years have turned the once white portions of the outfits dingy and yellowed. In addition, pants have become frayed, crossbelts have broken, and jackets are unable to fasten.
“We used safety pins to keep some of the jackets closed this past year,” said Weaver.
Sizes have become a problem, as well. After 16 years of wear, Weaver said not all sizes remain available and as new members come into the band, some must be given ill-fitting uniforms.
The new uniforms will feature red jackets and white pants. Instead of crossbelts like the present ones, the uniforms will feature a wide sash bearing the school’s name. The red helmet has a mirrored front that will reflect the sunlight or lights on the competition field, said Bradley. The final accessory will be a large white plume worn atop the hat.
Funds for the down payment came from the third annual Bitanga’s Breakathon, when over $10,000 was donated to the band through Bitanga’s “Save the Music” program. The same amount was also donated to Meigs and Southern high schools.
While the boosters are seeking grants, two fundraisers have also been set.
On March 14, a benefit bingo will be held at the school. Advance tickets are now available from band members for $20. Tickets at the door will be $25. There will be special games available, door prizes, and concessions for sale.
The second is a uniform sponsorship program. Businesses, organizations, or individuals can contribute $650 for each uniform, and a name will be placed inside on a specially made tag. They can also be placed in memory of a loved one or former band member.
The boosters are planning a “big check” presentation to show who donated the money for each new uniform. In addition, the names will be placed on a banner that will be displayed at the home football games during the 2020 season.
Once the band receives the new uniforms, around the first of July, the old ones will be offered to the sponsors first at no cost. Others can purchase the piece of the Wahama history for $100.
Those wishing to make donations, or to purchase a uniform, are asked to do so by March 6. More information can be obtained by calling the school at 304-773-5539 or April Lloyd, band booster president, at 304-593-0952.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.