By Kim West
Instead of bright white jackets accented by a black, white and green sash, the Tanner High School marching band will step on the field of Rip Swanner Stadium in new attire for the Rattlers’ first home game Sept. 13 against Cherokee.
Through football concessions and fundraisers, the THS Band Boosters raised $18,000 to purchase 80 uniforms for the 52-member marching band.
Vechiel Stone, band director at Tanner since 2011, said he designed the uniforms to be durable and machine-washable. They are also made of Dri-Fit material, a breathable material that wicks away moisture.
The new garb features a modern design with black pants and a zip-up jacket with a block-color scheme. The jacket’s black-sleeved torso is kelly green and white, and two thin black stripes accented by gold buttons crisscross the chest.
“The current uniforms have been used since 1992. When I got here, the ’92 uniforms had a lot of wear on them,” Stone said. “The drum harnesses leave stains on the uniforms after each game, and the uniforms had to be dry-cleaned, which was expensive.”
Stone said the uniform of drum major Joshua Lovett reflects the marching band’s musical theme for this season, which is set to classic rock songs from the catalog of Queen. He said Lovett’s uniform also symbolizes the past and future history of the band program.
“The drum major’s uniform is a custom job, and it’s symbolic of Tanner’s tradition and future by incorporating elements — the cord and tri-fold — of the previous two uniforms used by the school’s marching bands,” said Stone.
He said the Tanner’s 20-year-old uniforms will be donated to other band programs, and seniors can keep them at the end of the school year.
Several band members said the new unis are much nicer than the previous ones, and they especially liked the material and fresh look.
“I like them, and I’m really delighted we have new ones,” said Tanner freshman Keandra Garth, 14, after Tuesday’s band drills. “I think it will up our band (morale) more than anything else, and they go along with our theme for this year.”