Exeter band hoping to look as good as it sounds
EXETER - Exeter High School junior Renata Spinosa enjoys playing the alto saxophone in the school's marching band, but she was hesitant to join three years ago.
"As an eighth-grader, I'd seen the band uniforms and almost didn't join band because of how old and beat up the uniforms were. I didn't want to be embarrassed by wearing them, but I decided to join band and it was the best decision I have ever made," said Spinosa, a 16-year-old from Kensington.
Spinosa loves her band "family," as she calls it, but she and others said it's time to replace the tired uniforms that are believed to be nearly 25 years old.
The band has now launched a campaign to raise half of the $40,000 needed to purchase new uniforms.
The red, white and blue uniforms were hand-me-downs purchased by the school around 1998 when the University of New Hampshire marching band revised its colors and bought new uniforms.
"They're pretty worn out. We have to fold the front flap over to cover the UNH logo," said Timothy Miles, the school's band director who remembers wearing them when he was a freshman in the UNH band in 1997.
Miles said the school has just over 100 uniforms, which is enough at the moment, but the number of students in the band continues to climb.
Efforts to begin raising money for new uniforms began last fall. A mailing was sent to alumni and several events were planned, including a car wash gift card fundraiser, a cell phone fundraiser, mattress sales, fundraisers at local restaurants with raffles and a 50/50 raffle at concerts.
Miles said the new uniforms will cost approximately $40,000, of which the school district will pay half while the rest must be raised by the students.
The school hopes to have the new uniforms by this fall.
"Our students are very dedicated and put a lot of time and effort into preparing for performances and into performing for football games and for civic events," Miles said. "The wear and tear on the old uniforms is a symbol of that hard work and time spent performing for the people of Exeter and its surrounding communities."
Spinosa said she feels the band members deserve new uniforms to boost morale as they continue to play for the fans at all of the school's football games.
"Our uniforms have done their time. They simply do not do our band justice," she said.
Freshman Kaitlyn Ballentine, 14, of Exeter, said raising the money for the new uniforms has been harder than she thought.
"When they first came to us telling us their plan we looked at each other like, 'This is going to take no effort at all.' Little did we know six months later we would be in this position," said Ballentine, who plays the drums.
She hopes the band will be able to purchase the new uniforms soon.
"I think it would be really exciting to play in new uniforms and not be stuck in 20-year-old uniforms. Also, I have friends who are upperclassmen and I would love to get to see them wearing the new uniforms as well," she said.
Anyone who would like to donate to the 2013 EHS Band Uniform Replacement Campaign can make checks payable to the Exeter Band Boosters. They should be sent to: Exeter High School Band Boosters, Exeter High School, One Blue Hawk Drive, Exeter, N.H. 03833 .
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