At long last, Glacier High gets marching uniforms
The Glacier High School band department spent 11 years waiting patiently to step out for the first time since the school opened in formal marching uniforms.
The department recently purchased 167 previously worn uniforms. Before, student musicians wore tracksuits.
The uniforms feature a classic marching-band jacket design in green and white, black bibbers (an overall-style garment), green shako-style hats with white plumes.
“We wanted something that wasn’t too modern looking that would go out of style,” Glacier Band Director David Barr said. “We wanted a classic look. We’ll have these 10, maybe 20 years.”
The uniforms required a couple of minor adjustments, though. Band parents Betty deHoop and Heather Hill went to work sewing patches of the letter “G” on the front of the jackets and patches of the Glacier Wolfpack mascot on the sleeves to personalize them and cover up the logo of the previous school that wore the uniforms.
Barr purchased the uniforms, made by top manufacturer DeMoulin, through a broker for 60,000 to 70,000 when the marching season is short, August through October, and that amount could cover the school’s other athletic programs and activities over multiple seasons.
He had considered fundraising half the amount and using school funds to match, but when the DeMoulin uniforms became available, Barr jumped on the offer.
Several students spoke to the sense of professionalism, pride and unity the traditional uniforms impart, which translates to their performance.
“The whole band looks professional and it forces us to march better than before,” said senior trombone player Sarina Smith. “We care about the uniforms and the upperclassmen can fully appreciate how much the uniforms mean to Glacier High School.”
Smith added that she didn’t feel the marching band was on an equal footing when performing with other bands, such as in the Missoula homecoming parade, wearing the tracksuits.
They also make it clear what school the band is from. No longer are they the “track suit band,” according to sophomore Hailee Williams, who plays alto saxophone and recalled people asking what band she was from and where.
“I’m was so grateful to the Glacier High School for allowing me the chance to be in a uniform with all the other schools out there,” Williams said.
Clarinet player junior Dakota Lengele added that the uniforms represent the caliber of the band.
“I feel like having new uniforms makes me and the entire band feel more appreciated and makes us have more pride in ourselves. The previous track suits, while they were comfortable, did not match who we are as a band,” Lengele said.
Alto saxophone player senior Jack Corriveau noted the classic uniforms have garnered respect - instead of jeers according to Lengele - from peers when presentation is the name of the game.
“As a senior who has played in this band for four years, the fact that we have these uniforms is a privilege that I have come to hold near my heart. After years of subtle jabs and implications on what we represented, it truly is a breath of fresh air to look as professional as we do,” said senior Amanda Wiersma, who plays flute.
Marching, whether on a mile-long parade route or in a half-time show, takes a certain level of endurance both physically and mentally to maintain breath, posture, form, tone and rhythm with the rest of the group, especially if “the notes contradict the steps I’m taking,” said junior Ashley Alvord. Baritone saxophone player junior Drew Stralser and euphonium player sophomore Tanner Norenberg can attest to occasional arm cramps.
Through it all, marching bands strive to make it look effortless.
“Their energy was unreal this year,” Barr said. Every time they put on the uniform they turned into professionals. Their whole attitude changes.”
Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.