The Osbourn High School marching band will get 75 new band uniforms, at a total cost of about $30,000, if the Manassas City School Board approves a recommendation made by the board’s finance committee on Wednesday night.
The three-member committee adopted an appeal by Bill Stevens, high school band director, for up to $19,000 for purchase of the customized uniforms. The rest will come from band fundraising. There are about 50 members now in the band and the extra uniforms will be needed as the band grows, Stevens said.
“The kids are real excited about this,” Stevens said. “They all really hope this will happen and have been working very hard.”
The military-themed outfits, which cost about $400 each, come with a detachable cape and a feather-plumed West Point-style hat. The outfits include a jacket with “OSBOURN HS” stitched in an arch on the right sleeve and a single-sided overlay vest which can convert the uniforms into a more contemporary look for band competitions.
Finance Committee Chairman Arthur Bushnell expressed concern that the band was asking for a significant amount of money outside the normal budgetary request cycle.
However, Stevens said the band was hoping to raise about $15,000 toward the uniforms purchase and wasn’t ready to file a request for board support during the last cycle. Because of the long lead time that it takes to make the outfits, waiting for the next budget round would mean that band members would be stuck with their aging uniforms another year, Stevens said.
Board members agreed that it was important to move ahead with the purchase. If approved by the board, the money would come from the district’s $600,000 contingency fund.
“It looks to me that these kids have been working very hard and that they are very good,” said board member Tim Demeria. “I want, when these kids go out, for them to look really good.”
Stevens also said that the new uniforms may be used as a recruiting tool. A school the size of Osbourn could have a band with upwards of 200 members. “I know that we have kids in the high school right now who are interested in music and we could recruit them with these new uniforms,” Stevens said.
In other business, the committee also recommended the approval of $3,946 for a district wide pyramid choir concert on Jan. 31 at the 1,100-seat Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The concert will involve about 635 choir members from all the schools, said Matt Harrison, high school choir director.
“This is a great experience and something that we need to do for our kids,” said Superintendent Catherine Magouyrk. “We need to do more with the performing arts and this is something that gets the kids very excited.”
The full school board is to consider both items at its Nov. 13 meeting.