The band has worn its current uniforms at least two times the life expectancy of the garments, according to Joe Hermann, professor and director of bands at Tennessee Tech. Although the uniforms have admirably withstood rain, snow and blistering heat through countless football games, parades and state and national competitions, Hermann says new outfits are vital.
"The Tennessee Tech marching band is recognized as one of the most outstanding bands in the country," says Hermann. "The students who provide such exceptional music and service to Tennessee Tech would appreciate the community's special support helping us raise the money to buy new uniforms."
The uniforms have lasted over 15 years, making them almost as old as some of the students who wear them. The wear and tear is beginning to show, so, with the help of numerous alumni, the band has been raising money all year to purchase 200 new uniforms through an intensive letter and telephone fundraising campaign.
A complete uniform for one band member costs $400, but, Hermann notes, all contributions are welcome. For example, contributors can give the cost of a garment bag ($20), a hat ($50) or a coat ($160). For a donation of $400, a uniform will be personalized with the contributor's name. For a gift of $5,000 or more, donors have the opportunity to conduct the marching band in its performance at the first football game.
Paul Isbell, executive director of University Advancement, the office coordinating the fundraising efforts, says, "The band is made up of dedicated students who, because of their love of music and support of the university, sacrifice their free time and contribute their talents for our enjoyment. They truly deserve the best we can give them."
The deadline for raising the money is close at hand. The university must place the order by the end of March for uniforms to be available by the first home football game of the 1996 season. So far, the band has raised about $20,000 toward its goal of $80,000. While the marching band consists of around 160 students, extra uniforms are needed to accommodate musicians of various sizes for the next seven to ten years.
For more information about contributing to the marching band's uniform fund, call the Office of University Advancement at 615/372-3206.