Marching band seeks community help

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 22, 2012

SOUTH POINT — You’ve heard of the expression, “Dress for success.”

Well that’s exactly what the South Point High School Marching Band of Gold wants to do, with the support of the community.

This fall, the band has a unique opportunity to perform in front of thousands of marching band fans and compete with other bands from all across the nation at the Bands of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.

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Unfortunately, their duds are in much need of replacing.

“The jackets are about 8 years old,” said David Edwards, South Point band director. “The material is kind of broken down and they don’t hold up very well. They have been dry cleaned about the max they can be.”

The navy blue jackets with large gold buttons, epaulets and white and glittering gold sashes have somewhat of an antiquated look, Edwards said. And despite cleaning efforts, the jackets have an incurable, unpleasant odor, he said.

“The life of a uniform, if you do a lot of traveling and perform as we do, is about six or seven years,” Edwards said. “They’ve lived their lives.”

And those uniforms have seen success in their lifetimes.

Last year, the band swept every category at the Coal Grove Invitational, being dubbed grand champions. They also took the title at Ironton’s Buckeye Classic and another contest at Green High School. For three years in a row the band has taken a superior rating at the state finals as well.

This year’s BOA competition will be the first for the Band of Gold. They will follow in the tradition of more than 1 million high school marchers who have stepped on the field in Indiana since 1976.

“We try to do that looking our best,” Edwards said. “And we want local businesses to feel ownership in something of this magnitude.”

Over the last few years, the band has acquired new marching pants, hats and accessories.

The new jackets, made by Sanbury Uniforms, are $200 each and without community support, it will be difficult to outfit all 60 members of the band.

Edwards said some money has come in already.

“We are asking businesses or individuals to pay for one and we’ll stitch the name inside of the collar of the jacket,” he said.

The new jackets, Edwards said, will be a bit more futuristic-looking, but will provide a timeless look that will hold up for the next seven or eight years.

Aside from the cost of the uniform jackets, the band members must raise money for the trip to Indiana. Edwards said the students have worked really hard with fundraisers and have more planned.

“In the spring we’ll sell chocolate peanut butter filled eggs,” he said. “That will be the last major fundraiser to pay off uniforms and put in their accounts.”

Edwards said the new jackets will go a long way toward adding visual value to their marching show.

“With marching band, we’re the most visual aspect of our program,” Edwards said. “We work very hard for ourselves, our school and our community … There are not many schools that have the opportunity to perform at this level. We want to give South Point something to be proud of.”