Strike up the band

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Many Demopolis residents can’t wait for 2006 football season to start, and even though their reasons may be different, neither can members of the Demopolis High School marching band.

This season the marching band will strut their stuff on the field in new uniforms for the first time in a decade.

“The uniforms that we have are 10 years old,” band director Phillip Bonds said, “and those white pants are beginning to wear out.”

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“Before the last contest we had to sew the hems on all the pants because some of them were too long and others just didn’t fit properly,” Band Booster president Pam McKinley said. “Those uniforms were good while they lasted, but now they’ve had it. And we want the children to look the best they can.”

But looking good isn’t the average cost of a new shirt and pair of pants. McKinley said Band Boosters will pay close to $20,000 for approximately 70 new band jackets, which is almost $300 a uniform.

“The band members have to pay for their own pants and shoes,” she said, “but we are buying the hats and jackets and that’s the big expense.”

The Boosters have sold Domino’s pizza cards, hosted doughnut sales, bake sales, and carwashes, and worked hard at football games to make sure there is money in the budget to cover necessary band expenses.

The proceeds from hotdogs, hamburgers and other goodies sold at all the games went directly to band to cover everything from new instruments and instrument repairs to sheet music and now, new uniforms.

Last year, McKinley said the Boosters spent more than $10,000 on repairs, sheet music for the year, and a “few new instruments.”

“We were lucky this past year to have a team that played in so many tournaments these past years,” McKinley said, “because that meant more money for the band.”

But this year the Boosters are getting some help from the Demopolis Board of Education which has decided to give the club $4,500 toward their new uniforms.

“We are just really thankful to the school board for helping us out,” McKinley said.

As the parent of a DHS senior in the band, McKinley said she has been a member of the Booster Club for five years. And even though she didn’t join on her own will, she is working hard to make sure the children get what they need.

“I didn’t go to a fall concert so my husband signed me up and I’ve been here ever since,” she laughed. “I was treasurer for two years and now I’m president. Being a Booster is a full-time job, but as a parent, I want to support what my children do.”

On May 2 the Boosters will host a Spaghetti Supper and tickets will be on sale after the DHS Fish Fry on Saturday, April 13.