Strike Up the Band: Trojan Musicians to Sport New Uniforms

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Friday, January 31, 2020, 9:30 am
Emily Joan Elliott

The East Lansing Trojan Marching Band at Homecoming 2019. (Photos by Raymond Holt)

After 14 years of sporting their current uniforms, the East Lansing High School Trojan Marching Band will unveil new ones this coming fall.

At its meeting Monday night, the East Lansing School Board unanimously approved the purchase of the new uniforms, which will cost $87,000. After a meeting with band director David Larzelere, Director of Finance Richard Pugh gave the OK to redirect money from the capital fund for instruments to the purchase of the new uniforms.

The uniform purchase still leaves money for instruments, but purchasing uniforms could not be delayed, according to district personnel. The uniforms are said to be in bad shape.

School Board Vice President Terah Chambers expressed her excitement, recalling her own time as a high school marching band member playing trombone. Chambers explained that older band uniforms, which students often wear on hot days while exerting themselves, are made of heavy materials.

Chambers stated, “I am so excited to vote in favor of new uniforms for that reason. I have not spoken to the students, but I am sure that they are appreciative as well.”

The new uniforms come as East Lansing High School’s marching band enters a new phase. The band has always performed at halftime shows for home football games and school pep rallies, but beginning in 2017, it started participating in scored competitions.

According to ELHS senior and clarinetist Lucas Walters, the marching band had previously performed at the annual Grand Ledge Marching Invitational, an unscored event that provides participants with feedback for improvement.

Walters explained that the band is still transitioning to a truly competitive band but has had success recently.

On Sept. 21, 2019, the ELHS marching band placed second at the Rockford Marching Invitational and followed that success by winning the DeWitt Marching Competition on October 12. At both events, ELHS performed alongside — and even defeated — some of the best bands in the State.

Walters felt that one success led to another, stating, “Doing well at Rockford was very validating for the band, as we placed very well among a large pool of well-regarded bands from around the State. That gave us a lot of motivation, and in the three weeks between competitions, we worked very hard and were able to win the DeWitt competition, outperforming very prestigious band programs such as Petoskey’s marching band.”

For seniors such as Walters, the victories were all the more important. He explained, “What was especially cool for the seniors was we had seen the band grow from a smaller, non-competitive group that did a fun, crowd-pleasing show our freshmen year into a very strong group that could compete alongside some of the State’s best.”

As of now, ELi does not have information on what the new uniforms will look like. We will run a follow-up with photos when that information becomes available.


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