ILWACO - In an almost Prof. Harold Hill-like move, local resident Lon Stanley has sold the Peninsula on band uniforms.
Last summer Stanley began the task of raising the necessary funds - around $13,000 - to replace the uniforms used by the Ilwaco High School band when marching in the annual Loyalty Day parade. The uniforms the high school has now, which they don't use because they are old and beat up, were purchased originally in 1972. In fact, this last year the students performed in the parade wearing jeans and matching sweatshirts, which is what brought Stanley's attention to the matter in the first place.
But as of last week, IHS band instructor Brian Bergman said they were really close to the projected goal and will be hopefully looking at making the purchase soon.
"We're over $10,000," he said. "We think we have enough. We're pretty close to doing the uniforms [purchase]."
They were able to make a fair chunk of that money at a fund-raiser held recently at the Ocean Park Methodist Church where the high school jazz band performed for a good-sized group. Going into the event the band was told of an anonymous donor who would match the funds if they could make $1,000 - Bergman reported that they made just over that amount - resulting in over $2,000 total. Bergman also said that the band has applied for a grant from the Templin Foundation for the remaining $2,500. Bergman said if the funds come through, it is possible that they could have the new uniforms by the Loyalty Day parade this summer. Bergman said last Friday that he and band are very appreciative of the community's response.
But before they can make that order, they have to be sure of which style they are going to get. Bergman said he let last year's band students go through some uniform catalogs and pick out some that they liked. Though they found one that he said would be a good choice, Bergman wants to open that up again this year for the younger students, who would be using the uniforms for several years, to have the chance to have input on the decision.
"We will offer a vote on uniforms for the younger students who will be using them," he said, and added that he would like it if Stanley could be a part of that process as well. "He worked real hard on the drive. We can make it something that we all talk about and make a good decision on. Something that can really represent our school and look good on the kids."
But in the midst of the excitement over the new uni's, Bergman wants to reiterate that probably the only time you will see the kids in the uniforms will be once a year at the parade. Bergman said he was unsure if people in the community had developed expectations for one reason or another about the band students doing more performances that would call for using uniforms.
"The district can't fund and won't support that right now," he said. "I hate to sit here and say we're going to do all this stuff - there's a lot of other things that the district is concentrating on right now."
He said that there may be opportunities in the future some time for the IHS band to travel to other parades and such. He added that to do something like that would have to be planned a year in advance.
But what about performing at sporting events? Bergman said when the band performs at football games they are doing so more as a pep band and wearing the uniforms would be "kind of overkill." He said if they were doing like a half-time performance it would be appropriate, but preparing for that is much like doing a sport.
There is still time to help support the band and their efforts and hear some great music at the same time. The seventh- through twelfth-grade band will be holding a concert Nov. 17 at Hilltop auditorium at 7 p.m. The admission is free of charge, but they will be taking donations for the uniform, music booster and trip funds.
"We just encourage people to come and see what it's all about," said Bergman.