Callaway High School Marching Band fundraising to replace outdated uniforms

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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The Callaway High Cavaliers Marching Band has been working hard to raise enough funds to purchase some much-needed new uniforms to replace the well-worn 20-year-old ones band members have been wearing for years.

With the formation of the band’s Booster Club, that goal is all the closer.

The Callaway High Band Boosters was formed during the beginning of the 2020 school year, said Tory Faulk, fundraising coordinator and treasurer of the CHS Band booster club, after parents voiced their concerns on the state of the band’s uniform.

“A lot of parents got together and noticed that the uniforms needed to be replaced,” he said, adding that the club has been raising funds ever since.

The uniforms were donated to Callaway High over nine years ago by LaGrange High, who purchased them 20 years ago, Faulk said. Many of the uniform jackets have a naked gap on their fronts where the LaGrange High embroidery was once sown in, while the pants still have LaGrange High tags stitched into them.

“The uniforms typically last about 10 years,” Faulk said, who added that the school system does not purchase uniforms for any of its extracurricular sports teams, but rather sports teams form their own booster clubs to raise funds. Troup County High and LaGrange High already have their own band booster clubs.

Emily Lindsey, who’s been a member of the band for four years and serves as its high brass section leader, said that when wardrobe malfunctions occur during games, the group has to make quick decisions to fix each problem before it worsens, such as supergluing the rims of hats together or safety pinning pants’ zippers in place until a game is over.

“If a button falls off, we have to find tape or something to put it back on, or if our shoes fall apart, we have to find old shoes [to put on] which is really not good,” Lindsey continued. “All four of our tubas broke last week, so they were all held together by packing tape.”

Other issues with the hand-me-down costumes include size issues, said Mikhala Smith, a band member of five years who serves as the color guard section leader.

“If you have a jacket that doesn’t fit you, like mine didn’t my first year, they had to add extra fabric to it,” she said.

The costumes are dry cleaned regularly, which mostly addresses the cleanliness issues many of the band members have, but the final issue with lackluster uniform is skin-deep.

“It’s a pride thing,” Lindsey explained.

“We wear these really outdated uniforms and you don’t feel a sense of pride because they’re basically falling apart on you in the middle of the field.”

However, band members’ new sense of pride stems from the work they’ve put into forming the booster club and the funds they’ve managed to raise so far.

Last Saturday, the band held a yard sale and donation-only car wash at the Callaway High gym that garnered $1,500, Faulk said. So far, the band has raised $11,000 of its $34,000 goal.

If the band manages to make half of the goal, they will be able to apply for a matching grant from the Callaway Foundation. The band currently has about 50 members.

“This is something that we as a band want to do,” Faulk said.

“It’s not a negative thing, it’s just something we need to do for the kids. All of us, the parents and the boosters, have been involved and have tried to make this situation as positive as possible.”

Later during the holiday season, the band will be selling smoked turkeys with help from Sloppy Pig Catering, and plan to announce details on the fundraiser soon.

Any money raised past the uniform fundraiser has the potential to fund other endeavors for the band, Faulk said.

“If the kids want to go on a field trip somewhere at some point, we’re behind them one hundred percent to get that money raised,” he said.

Those interested can also donate to the marching band’s Venmo and CashApp accounts at $callawaybandboosters.