By MORGAN MANNS
Bright lights and a roaring crowd have the potential to make any marching band member nervous as they put their best foot forward onto the football field during a halftime show.
Fears of slipping, missing a note and forgetting when to march may float around in the back of their minds as they stand — the center of attention in front of hundreds of fans, family members and friends — holding their instruments in the upright position.
In an effort to increase pride in the school and dignity on the field — and potentially decrease any fears regarding apparel lacking in professionalism — the Lakota Raider Marching Band is looking to purchase a new wardrobe.
The list of problems with the current uniforms ran long as band members recited them: stains, broken buttons and zippers, ripped pants, wrong sizes, tears, worn fabric, scars from repairs and more.
The average lifespan of a band uniform is 10-12 years, according to Stephanie Brower, band director.
In their 15th year of service, the current regalia have seen more than 140 football games and countless parades, concerts and other public performances.
“They’ve definitely seen their wear and tear,” Brower said. “We’ve had them a long time and I think our students deserve to have this.”
“When so many people have their eyes on you, you want all the stuff you need to look professional and series on the field,” junior band member RaeAnna Harner said. “Overall, we’re just going to look better. It’s very exciting.”
Currently, the band sports navy blue pants with red stripes on both pant legs and white and navy jackets reading “RAIDERS” vertically down the back. A patch with an “L” is stitched on the sleeve of one arm.
The potential new uniforms — which will be purchased through Stanbury — will allow the Raider Marching Band to present themselves with more poise during performances.
The all navy blue attire will feature red and white accents, promoting school colors.
“RAIDERS” will read diagonally across the front of the jacket in red atop a white sash as highlighting white horizontal lines cross behind it. An “L” paying tribute to the school’s heritage will rest over the heart.
“The new uniforms will bring more pride to the school,” senior band member Neria Gonzalez said. “When they see us, people and other bands are going to think ‘These guys are top notch.'”
The uniforms will cost approximately $400 each and the band hopes to buy a total of 85 before the 2016 marching season.
Brower said the extra uniforms will be purchased in preparation for the future.
Typically the band contains approximately 30 students in grades 8-12; however, this year, there are 56 members.
With roughly 30 students in both the seventh and eighth grade bands and more than 50 students in the fifth grade band, Brower hopes to continue to see higher numbers at the marching band level in years to come.
Additionally, the band is looking to purchase new hats and rain coats as the hats have stains and some of the zippers malfunction.
“We’ve had these uniforms forever, it’ll be cool for the younger classes and the incoming seniors to have something memorable,” Gonzalez said, explaining how she supports the investment even though she will have graduated before the purchase.
“They’re going to be a lot more professional-looking with these new uniforms. Hopefully they’ll have more confidence in themselves to play better too.”
The Lakota Music Boosters is seeking to garner $40,000, $18,000 of which has been raised, according to Brower.
The band hosted a Mattress Sale Sept. 12 and will sell cookie dough, pizza, candies and more during their annual fundraiser.
For those looking to make a monetary donation, the band has four levels of support: Eighth Note, $10-99; Quarter Note, $100-249; Half Note, $250-499; and Whole Note, $500 and more.
With their contributions, supporters will respectively receive a letter of appreciation; a frame certificate of appreciation; a framed certificate of appreciation; or a picture of the band in the new uniforms mounted on an engraved plaque.
Checks can be made payable to Lakota Music Boosters, 5200 County Road 13, Kansas, Ohio 44841. Donations are tax deductible.
In addition, the band has a GoFundMe account — gofundme.com/raiderband.
Although plans for the current uniforms have not yet be made after the purchase of the new attire, Brower said they have been discussing either recycling them or making them into pillows for students, staff, alumni and community members to purchase.
“It’s like the construction of the new school,” Brower said, noting the transition of K-12 students into one building, which was built in 2011.
“They had pride in it before but when this new school was built, it was like a whole new Lakota. I’m really hoping the band will kind of be the same way with their new uniforms.
“As cruddy as these uniforms are, the students take extra special care in hanging them back up, letting me know when they see spots on them and keeping them as nice as possible. I can only imagine how proud of the new uniforms they’ll be.”