Marching band shows have become major productions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 20, 2012

By Sarah Campbell

Both North Rowan and West Rowan high school marching bands expect to spend more than $40,000 this year on everything from equipment to travel.
North Rowan anticipates shelling out a total of $13,575 for marching instruction including the show design along with band camp and regular season lessons.
Equipment will cost the band an estimated $6,500, including $2,500 for color guard gear and $1,000 for uniform cleaning.
The band expects to spend $13,800 on travel to away football games, contests and parades.
Overall, the band has budgeted more than $43,500 in expenditures for this year.
“Our budget is minuscule compared to some bands, I’ve heard of bands spending $1 million,” North band director Andrew Howe said. “When you shell out that kind of money you expect to win so that definitely adds some pressure.”
Howe said it’s impressive how the band boosters are able to raise five-figure budgets.
“That has nothing to do with me,” he said. “That’s just them deciding and demanding that we have what everyone else has.”
West Rowan’s band has budgeted more than $44,800 for this year.
The band has already spend about $3,000 on band camp. It cost $1,000 for a custom drill arrangement and instrument repairs for the season have already hit more than $220.
Nearly $1,800 has been shelled out for equipment, including about $650 for guard supplies and more than $780 for field electronics.
The band expects to spent $350 on cleaning uniforms and another $250 on instrument repairs.
Uniform supplies such as shoes, gloves and lyres rack up to more than $1,650.
One of the largest expenses will be travel, which band director Daniel Trivette said has not been included in the budget. The band is required to pay $1.50 for each mile traveled and a bus driver get $10 to $12 per hour plus social security and retirement.
“We usually accrue roughly $3,000 in mileage alone each year,” he said. “We’ve paid over $500 already this year in driver expense alone.”
Jeff Street, the band director at Carson High School, said it’s not usual for his band to spend between $25,000 and $30,000.
He said music and drill for a show can cost about $2,000 each.
“When you add in the material for props, flags, poles, drum needs, uniforms, staffing, summer camp, transportation and all the other things that go into a show, you could easily spend up to about $25,000,” he said. “There are some marching bands that we compete against that have budgets up around $225,000. “
Howe said earlier this year, the North band conducted a fundraiser to purchase uniforms at a cost of $30,000.
Although the band needed new threads, Howe said the uniforms will also help the band be more competitive in the future.
“We tried to create a uniform that honors the tradition of the school and the rich tradition of the band, but also allowed us to utilize the uniforms as a component of the competitions,” he said.
Howe said the back of the coats and pants are black, while the rest of the uniform is white, green and gold.
“If we turn around it can look like we are not there,” he said.
Howe said the coats also have a removable insert that can be switched from the shiny gold to any other color depending on the theme of the bands show.
“The new uniforms give us some flexibility,” he said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.