The “Power and Class of New England” should dress the part.
That is why the 370-member University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band is raising money to replace its tattered 15-year-old uniforms before the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2018, where the marchers will be watched by millions around the world.
“This will be the biggest audience the UMass Amherst band has ever been in front of,” said band director Timothy T. Anderson.
That means bigger even than the live and television audiences that saw the band perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2013.
Known as the “Power and Class of New England,” the Minuteman Band is used to large audiences: at presidential inaugural ceremonies in 1981, 1985 and 2001; at the Bands of America Grand Nationals in 1993, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2011; and at the Lord Mayor of Dublin New Year’s Day Parade in 2010.
But before its next major performance, Anderson said, the band should replace the current uniforms, which were in use before most “bandos” were in kindergarten, and are now more than well-worn with holes, patches and snags.
To pay for the new uniforms, the university has set up a MinuteFund web page with the goal of raising $160,000 by May 12. More than $47,000 has been donated so far.
The band is typically about 370-members strong, but 400 uniforms are needed to account for size variations, Anderson said. Each costs about $425, including hat, plume, jacket and stitched-on logo.
Anyone can donate at https://minutefund.umass.edu/project/3136
The donor’s name can be displayed on the electronic “donor wall” if he or she wishes.
Donors can be thanked with choices of unique premiums, beginning with a personal thank-you on the band’s Facebook page for a $25 donation.
A $250 gift earns a hat from one of the old uniforms. For a $500 gift, the uniform itself.
And a $10,000 donation will earn one donor the right to conduct the Minuteman Marching on Band Day 2017.
While the absolute goal is to have the uniforms in time for the Rose Parade, Anderson said he hopes to be able to showcase them locally during football season, when the band performs at halftime and during the after-game “fifth quarter.”
He said to expect the appearance of the new uniforms to be very different. “Every time the band has had new uniforms since the 1970s, it’s been a brand-new look,” he said.