“Pride of the Peninsula” marches forward with new uniforms
As long-time (relative to this blog’s existence, anyway) supporters of the EMU Marching Band, as band camp winds down today, it seems like an appropriate time to share some updates on the state of the band. If you’ve been following the band’s situation, you probably know that, like the football team, they’re getting new uniforms this year, though unlike the football team, the old uniforms have been in use for more than a decade-and-a-half.
As readers may recall, the burden of raising money to replace their 17-year-old uniforms — the normal lifespan of a band uniform is seven to ten years — was put on the marching band, representing a shameful lack of support by the university and a fundraising burden that few (possibly no) other schools fielding Division I athletic programs puts on their students. For several years band members tried to raise the money, including through the annual March-A-Thon (this year on September 15), but had only raised about $70,000 of the $200,000 needed. Last fall, at the Western Michigan game, it was announced that President Martin had “found” the remaining $130,000 in the university budget, and the uniforms were ordered.
Well, maybe they didn’t so much “find” the money as “borrow” it. It seems that perhaps the $130,000 is a loan from the university to the band program, which future donations are expected (or at least hoped) to repay. Given that it took about three years to raise the first $70,000, and given that the urgency is gone now that the new uniforms are not only ordered but about to be debuted, I think it will probably take at least eight years to pay back that money; my hope is that after a year or two the university will just forgive the loan, because otherwise other aspects of the marching band (e.g., instruments) will suffer over the next decade.
However they got them, and whatever needs to be done to pay for them, the band does finally have new uniforms, and they’re both welcome and nice.
The uniforms are an interesting blend of traditional and modern styling. On the right side, the jackets are evocative of cadet-style uniforms, but the colors are reversed from the previous uniforms, with white horizontally embroidered bars ending in a row of buttons, over a green background. However, the shoulders and left side seem to be a modern take on a bib uniform, such as that used by Penn State or Michigan, and is white, with a green “E” (with curved serifs) on the top-left.
Notably, the new uniforms also incorporate the Michigan Normal block-M logo and the Hurons logo, albeit on an inside flap. But let’s be honest, five or ten years ago, putting the Hurons logo on a new uniform, even hidden, would have been unthinkable.