Three years ago, the Marathon High School band had only 25 members, but with the newfound interest in music under the band direction of Joe Rayhill, the group now boasts 75 students. The band is finally big enough to form a marching band again after a five year hiatus. There’s only one problem: They have no uniforms.
“Interest has really gone through the roof,” said T.J. Patterson, vice president of the MHS Band Boosters, who has been helping raise the $21,000 needed for new marching band attire. “The new band director has brought in a lot of interest, and realized that these students really wanted to reform a marching band. Shortly after, he organized a meeting and we are on our way to reaching our goal.”
The booster account started this year with a balance of $500. The band members have been spending one weekend a month bagging at Publix to raise money for the uniforms and have made it to $15,000, enough to place the order for the company to start making the uniforms to be finished by the start of the next school year.
“There was no way for us to get to this kind of money doing car washes and bake sales,” Patterson said. “Some people came through who used to play in the MHS band, they would drop twenties in the tip jar after interacting with the kids about what instruments they play. It was really cool to see.”
On top of that, some of the money needed to be spent on new gowns and concert attire for the students.
“The expenses are never ending,” said Band Booster President Angela Roth, whose daughter is in the band. “They didn’t even get instruments until October. I was so impressed with what she learned by the fall concert. The kids continue to blow me away. I don’t think the community is aware of how inspiring they are to watch.”
Marathon’s BPW donated $1,000 to get them on their way, but the band boosters are still soliticing donations.
“Ideally, we are hoping a private citizen or MHS band alumnus might like to make a private donation to the band,” Patterson said. “A lot of people didn’t realize that there hasn’t been a marching band around at all in five years.”
After this big purchase is complete, dry cleaning will be really big expense and the boosters are hoping to eventually add a color guard to throw the flags during the performances, but this is all down the road according to Roth.
The band will be volunteering at Mara-Tri in May and have one more bagging scheduled at Publix on May 16.
To read more about the Marathon High School band, visit the booster website at Marathonbandbooster.com. If you are interested in helping out or would like to make a donation, call Angela Roth at 352-519-7461.