Del Norte High’s marching band will trade in their old, frilly uniforms from more than two decades ago for a brand new outfit that is easier to wear and more up-to-date.
The Del Norte County Unified School District Board of Trustees approved an allocation of $15,000 from the district’s general fund to help pay for the new uniforms. Del Norte High School’s Music Boosters organization has come up with a matching amount of $15,000 for the new uniforms. About $6,000 of the matching funds have come from private donations from local businesses, said Music Director Dan Sedgwick.
“The uniforms are desperately needed,” he said, adding that at least two generations of students have worn the band’s current uniforms, which were purchased 22 years ago. “There’s a family in town that has seven kids who all went through band in high school and all seven of them have worn these uniforms. The oldest graduated high school the same year I did.”
The new uniforms cost about $400 each. The high school music department will purchase a minimum of 75 uniforms, according to a letter Sedgwick and Nina Burgess, Music Boosters president, sent to the school board.
Purchasing and shipping new uniforms, which will come from Illinois-based company DeMoulin, will take about three to five months, according to the music department’s letter.
When Sedgwick became Del Norte High’s band director in 2008, he revamped the marching band, taking his students to field show competitions in the region. Although bands aren’t directly judged on the condition of their uniforms, there is a category for the group’s overall visual effect, he said.
Not only do the band’s current uniforms look out of date, Sedgwick said, pieces of the uniform often fall apart. One student’s pants even fell down during a competition, he said.
“If our uniforms look bad it detracts from it,” Sedgwick said, referring to his band’s overall visual effect score at a competition. “With our hardware breaking on the current (uniforms), we don’t have enough working uniforms to fit everybody.”
Sedgwick said the music department will likely sell the old uniforms. Even though they are out of date, he said a middle school with similar school colors should be able to repair and modify them. Sedgwick estimated that the old uniforms will likely sell for about $1,500 total.