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OU alumni, Office of Annual Giving hope for new 110 gear
For the past 14 years, Ohio University’s marching band members have been playing and dancing their way to viral videos and national recognition in uniforms purchased in 1998.
OU’s Office of Annual Giving is hoping the Marching 110 will be marching in new style soon, having promoted a fundraiser for new uniforms since 2011, said Jennifer Bowie, executive director of development.
“We’re working with alumni and friends to help fund this project. Historically, they’ve been very supportive through private giving,” she said, adding that the current uniforms were paid for through private giving.
After 14 years of performances, the band’s uniforms are showing obvious signs of wear and tear, according to Annual Giving.
Trevor Patton, a junior studying journalism, first year band member and previous OU cheerleader, said he feels it is important to represent the university well.
“We work just as hard as the guys and gals on the sports teams, just in our own regards. We deserve to be able to put on a presentable uniform to be proud of while playing and marching our best for old Ohio,” Patton said.
According to Patton, his uniform is currently off-color, has bloodstains down the front and the trim is frayed.
Junior Gretchen Kessler, a three-year mellophone player in the band studying theater performance and video production, has had similar problems with her uniform.
After a hiccup at the dry-cleaners last year, she said her uniform was returned with the pull-tab missing, so for the remainder of the season, it had to be sewn into her uniform before each performance.
The current uniforms have been worn more than 300 times and dry-cleaned more than 50.
In October, the Marching 110 performed in front of the president of the United States during his visit to Athens.
“We were representing Ohio University in those uniforms. It would just be rewarding if the state of our uniforms could match the caliber of excellence with which we perform,” Kessler said.
In addition to uniforms, the university does not fund trips like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
Private donations and out-of-pocket money fund the band’s participation in those events.
“Alumni love the 110 and love to come out and support it. We like to do anything we can do to supplement the university funds,” Bowie said.
Band members pay close to $500 in fees throughout the year. Some of those fees include dry-cleaning expenses, shorts and shirts to wear underneath the uniform, white gloves, spats and the band jacket.
“Although the band jacket is not required, it’s probably the most recognizable aspect of the 110 attire, so most everyone buys it,” Patton said.
Some aspects of the band are university-funded. According to Bowie, the band just purchased new instruments with $300,000 from the university. Additionally, the university has funded the purchasing of a few uniforms in absolute need of replacing.
Annual Giving’s goal is to raise $175,000 for a full set of new uniforms. Currently the university has raised $48,000.
“I feel very confident we will be able to raise the necessary amount of money to fund an entire set of new uniforms. We have a great support system through the Bobcat family,” Bowie said.