Rotary Club of Grayling spearheading raffle to help pay for Grayling High School band uniforms
When the Grayling High School marching band performs on the football field for the first time in the 2019-20 school year, they hope to do so in brand new uniforms.
The current uniforms used by the band were purchased 31 year ago.
“The average life expectancy for a uniform is 10 years, so we’ve gone well past the 10 years,” said Jeff Muraida, the director of bands for the Crawford AuSable School District. “They’ve shown their signs of age with wear and tear and everything, and it’s time for a new look.”
Muraida, who is completing his second year as the school district’s band director, said it is unknown why the uniforms have not been upgraded on a regular basis.
“They were serving their purpose, but looking at them closely, there is definitely a need for replacement,” he said. “They’re definitely showing their age with stains, missing parts, and things like that.”
The band wears the uniforms at home football games, various parades throughout the year, and for an annual fall concert.
The estimated cost to outfit the band with new uniforms is $45,000.
Muraida was successful in obtaining a $500 “Good Works” grant from the Rotary Club of Grayling, but that would only pay for one uniform.
Since awarding the grant, the Rotary Club has launched a fundraising raffle where one lucky ticket buyer has a chance to win $5,000. A total of $250 tickets are being sold at a price of $100 per ticket.
“The Rotary, as an organization, saw that this was a desperate need with the expense that it is,” Muraida said.
Muraida is not a member of the Rotary, at least not yet.
“Maybe with all this going on and the support and help that they are providing, that might change,” he said.
If all $250 tickets are sold, that would raise $20,000 toward the cost of the new band uniforms.
Tickets can be purchased from Grayling Band Boosters, Rotary Club members, and at the Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home.
“It’s becoming more of a community project and getting the community involved with helping the band buy the uniforms,” said Katie Olson, the president of the Rotary Club of Grayling.
The drawing of the winning ticket will take place on Wednesday, April 16, at the band’s spring concert. The concert begins at 6 p.m. and the raffle ticket drawing will take place at 6:45 p.m.
Muraida is also applying for grants through the Grayling Youth Booster Club and Crawford County Excellence in Education Foundation.
Grayling High School is also hosting the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s Spring Festival on April 26-27. Concession sales will go toward the purchase of the uniforms.
Funds will also be raised at the Grayling Viking Bands Seventh Annual Spring Carnival, which will be in town from May 25 to May 27.
Other student led fundraisers will be done solely with the intent of paying for the new uniforms.
“Any little thing that we find and comes along the way to try and raise money, we’re going to jump on it,” Muraida said.
Muraida is working with Dennis Ormsbee, a retired Grayling High School band director, who served in the position from 1985 to 2001. Ormsbee is a representative for a band uniform company. Three renderings were completed to give a more modern look to the band.
Muraida said working with Ormsbee is a plus, making sure the school district will get the most bang for the buck.
“Having the uniform company representative in town and being closely connected to the program will ensure everything is personally taken care of,” he said.
The new uniforms are also made with modern materials to provide more comfort and agility to band members as they perform.
“The students are excited about the new uniforms. They’re excited about the look of them and the overall feel of them as well,” Muraida “The material is much different. The old uniforms are 100 percent wool, and these are a polyester blend, so they’re a little bit lighter in weight and a little bit easier to move around in them.”
Vinyl rain jackets worn by band members in inclement weather will also be replaced with soft shell jackets.
There are currently 60 students involved in the band. A total of 100 uniforms will be purchased by the school district.
“We’re looking to outfit that number, plus have room for the growth of the program over the years,” Muraida said.
Area residents, organizations, and businesses that want to donate funds for the uniforms can e-mail Muraida at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (989) 344-3500.
“They can contact me, and we can get the ball rolling with that,” he said.