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We need band uniforms

An Editorial By Susan Reeves

Have you seen what the Mighty Tiger Marching Band students have to wear to perform in? From a distance the band uniforms look okay, but upon closer inspection they are showing their age. The black and gold costumes were purchased circa 1996 by then band director Jerry Stuart. Many people questioned why those colors were chosen in the first place, but I have yet to run across anyone with an answer. I also have not found a single person who likes our band uniforms, and most people I have spoken with did not even like them when they were brand new. We definitely need uniforms for the high school marching band.
“When we play against Pittsburg or Pleasant Grove, it is hard to determine when our band takes the field because we are wearing their school’s colors,” Athletic Booster Club President Stan Lowry said.
Current Band Director Tanya Eckstein inherited the hideous outfits when she joined MVISD in 2001. She and her staff have been good stewards of their equipment. They have been diligent to keep the uniforms clean and protected and make sure they are reusable year after year. But, after 15 years of use some of the material is getting a little thin. Perhaps they have done too good a job in their care!
“You could probably read the newspaper through the seat of several pairs of pants,” Band Booster President Tina Carter said.
The question about replacing the uniforms has been raised several times over the years, but there never seems to be any money in the school’s budget. It would be an extreme challenge during the next two years, especially with the state cutting funding to school districts and everyone tightening their belts.
“I cannot approve spending $10,000 for 30 students when we are doing everything we can to keep from cutting teaching positions,” Superintendent John Kaufman stated. There were 32 students in the marching band last year. At this time, there are 49 students registered for band for the 2011 season.
Members of the school board did not even blink when they voted for $25,000 in goods for the football team on April 14, 2011. Of that figure, $10,000 was for shoulder pads, jerseys, practice pants, cleats, etc. There were 77 players on the three high school teams last year. When looking at the pictures on the wall at Dairy Queen, it appears they have changed jerseys six times since 1996. Granted, the jerseys themselves are not as expensive as band uniforms, but when you couple that with all the other gear required the costs add up. Almost sounds like a double standard to me.
The band’s resources have been cut for the coming school year in anticipation of the reduction in state revenue. The group’s budget was reduced, but the biggest blow was the decision by the administration not to replace Susan Dennis. She was the aide who provided much needed assistance to Mrs. Eckstein, and she led the flag corp in winning several National Championships in previous years.
“I am not sure how our flag program will survive without help, but we are going to try,” Mrs. Eckstein told the Band Booster Club recently.
The band boosters do not have a membership fee. It is hard enough to get folks to join without charging. Their small group works the concession stand for Thursday night ball games and conducts several fund raisers throughout the year. They earn enough money to off-set the cost of food and drinks for band camp and to fund several scholarships each year, but they do not raise anywhere near the cost of uniforms.
“The band is an integral part of our Friday night experience and just like the football team, it is hard to have pride when you are not outfitted properly,” Mr. Lowry said.
If the school does not have the resources to replace these uniforms, then the community needs to rally around the band. Let’s start a fund raising campaign and donate money for new uniforms. Mr. Kaufman confirmed that the school district could accept donations for such a purpose.
So, everyone who has commented over the years about the band uniforms, now is the time to step up and help. Donations can be made at any branch of the First National Bank of Mount Vernon. Please make the check out to the Band Booster Club and mark on the memo line for uniform donation.


#1 plannerjim emery 2011-08-29 10:32
I was told the color was choosen to help the band students when they are in marching competitions. this info can from the former band director. I ask this when I was in band boosters when my son was in band. And they always did a great job to take care of the uniforms.The band uniforms should have as much importance as the football uniforms.
#2 Financial ConsultantDebra Pope 2011-09-15 10:04
The school board should be ashamed. Trying to justify an obvious preference for the football team over the school band. No new sports expenditures should be authorized until the band gets equal treatment. Shame on your bias and shame on your weak justification.
#3 Student in MVHS BandJack Sheffield 2011-09-23 11:57
Umm yea i would LOVE some new uniforms. Seeing as though next year is my last year anyway, i would like to go out with some nice band uniforms atleast for one year i get to wear them. I hate how they keep using football as an excuse to cut band fundings when most of the time the BAND pump up the FOOTBALL players and we are like their cheerleaders. Haha. But yes new uniforms would be GREATLY appreciated.
#4 seriously?Anthony 2012-01-03 08:30
I wore those uniforms back in 96 and 97 and swore I'd never want to see them again. They looked awesome but were so hot. Great for a cold day. I can't believe that they are still around. I would think the school board, PTA, or even just parents would want to do something about this and step up and do so. Where I live now the exact same style and color of jersey has been worn year after year, cleats are provided by the parents and practice clothes are as well. I know MV is smaller but there are some things the parents should just take care of.
#5 none-former band member45-46-47Archie E. Johnson 2012-01-25 15:20
Band is a very importand part of the foot ball program. Band gives a student a lot of prestige and music is valuable to the student. Being a band member is very exciting and a nice uniform is very important. I learned a lot from being a band member. As a result, I love good music. Music is a language of its own, therefore it is very important to have a good band and nice uniforms. The school board is not doing their job. Our colors were purple and white. That is a good combination. The students shoujld have a say about their colors.
#6 2012 Drum MajorMarcus Hollingsworth 2012-09-02 17:24
Thank you, Ms. Reeves and commenters, for your support!!
We are so glad to be getting new uniforms (that include purple and white) this October. Can't wait to show them off. Go Tigers, and go Tiger Band!