For some members of the Del Norte High marching band last year, keeping their uniform from falling apart was as much of a concern as memorizing their music.
Students had to deal with frayed hems, broken zippers and missing buttons, said band director Dan Sedgwick. Some band members used duct tape to hold their uniforms together. They were simply too old, he said.
"That look was 1991," Sedgwick said, referring to the uniform's frilly front and white color that attracted dirt. "Uniforms are something we need every 10 to 15 years, not every 22 years."
After years of fundraising, and a little help from the district, Sedgwick's students will don their new uniforms and perform music from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" at the 20th annual Pride of the Northwest marching band competition Saturday.
But before they leave for their second performance at the Grants Pass field show, the band will treat locals to a show during a DNHS homecoming parade Friday afternoon and later at halftime of the Friday night JV football game that starts at 5:30 p.m. (other homecoming festivities will take place during halftime of the varsity game).
The new uniforms feature blue and black jackets with gold trim and gold buttons with black pants and black shoes. The hats feature a blue and black design similar to the jacket with a black and gold plume.
"It's not a struggle to keep the outfit on all the time," said senior Jacob Johnson, who plays baritone saxophone in the band. "(The old uniforms) were really dirty and were all falling apart. It was a challenge to keep your pants up."
To help pay for the new uniforms, the band's Music Boosters organization raised about $15,000 by holding spaghetti feeds and having the students sell candy bars, said Lori Standring, organization's publicity chair. The band also received donations from local businesses.
The School Board in March also approved a matching allocation of $15,000 from the district's general fund for the uniforms.
"We do appreciate all of the community support that has helped so much over many years," said Standring, whose son Daniel plays the tuba and daughter Kira is the drum major. "Since Mr. Sedgwick became band director his goal was to get new uniforms."
Last year, Del Norte High made its first appearance at the Pride of Northwest field show and played selections from "The Planets" by Gustav Holst, Sedgwick said.
This year, after choosing something that is more recognizable, Sedgwick set about creating the drill that would tell Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas" story on the football field. He said he spent about 20 hours on a computer working on the show, and his students spent more than 100 hours memorizing the music and learning the routine.
"We have a present box opening up and shooting out confetti," Sedgwick said. "We have rotating snowflakes and during the 'Oogie Boogie' part the color guard will be swing dancing."
While the band will perform in its new uniforms, the color guard will be dressed as Sally, the rag doll that served as main character Jack Skellington's love interest, Sedgwick.
The Pride of the Northwest marching band competition starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mel Ingram Field at Grants Pass High School at A and Ninth streets in Grants Pass. Admission is $14 for adults and $9 for students and seniors. Children 4 and under are free.
For more information about the competition, visit http://nwapa.net and click on events.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org.