If you graduated from East Wake High School a decade ago and returned to watch a football game, something might look familiar to you.
Yep. The band uniforms. The East Wake High School marching band is wearing uniforms first used in 2003. Band director Alan Mason says the uniforms are falling apart now, and with growing interest in the high school band, he’s hoping this might be the right time to retool the band’s look.
But it’s not cheap. Buying 75 uniforms will cost the band about $27,000. That’s money the band doesn’t have and Wake County’s band uniform allotment won’t come back around the East Wake for a few more years. And, even when it does, that money will only be about one-third of the cost of outfitting the group.
Band is an expensive proposition for parents already. In addition to instrument purchases, East Wake band parents pay $400 per year to pay the band’s operating costs. That figure is going up to $500 next year. Fundraisers – most notably – concession sales at Walnut Creek Amphitheater – help keep those costs low. But fundraiser generally don’t raise enough extra money for a big purchase like uniforms.
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The band held a mattress sale Saturday to help raise money for the purchase. Mason says they must raise at least $11,000 by April 15 to be able to place an order in time to get the uniforms before the start of next season. Soon, students will pair off in teams and begin soliciting in the community.
Mason says this is a good time to make this purchase. “We are reunifying the four schools at East Wake and this is a great way to say ‘We are one East Wake,’” he said.