YORKVILLE – After 14 years of use, the Yorkville High School Marching Foxes are making moves to buy new band uniforms.
Victor Anderson, music department chair for Yorkville High School, said while it's strange to be talking about marching band uniforms in January when the typical season is during the fall months, the process to purchase the new uniforms included opening the bid process, selecting a winning company, having the company come to the school to measure the students and starting the manufacturing process. He said the objective is to have the new marching band uniforms for the high school ordered in time to debut in fall 2020.
Anderson said the design concept includes the school colors of red and white along with the letter "Y" worked into the design on the torso of the uniform.
Anderson said he's excited about the new uniforms and for the community's overall support for the music program. He said the marching band is the most publicly visible ensemble in the program, particularly for community events like homecoming and competing at marching band competitions.
"So when they see the Yorkville band, that is what's representing Yorkville High School, the Yorkville School District and the city of Yorkville," Anderson said.
District officials wrote in district documents that Anderson worked with multiple uniform vendors to create a preferred design and specifications, also including fabric that will be able to better moderate temperature, resist stains and wrinkles, quickly dry, better manage odors and for better durability and overall anticipated lifespan. According to bid documents, substitutions for the Xtreme Dri synthetic fabric – which includes darcon-wool and polyester blends – would not be allowed in bids for those reasons.
According to district documents, the district sent an invitation to bid document via email on Dec. 18, to Fruhauf Uniforms, Fred J. Miller Inc., DeMoulin Uniforms and Stanbury Uniforms. The invitation also was posted on the district website for any other uniform vendors who wanted to participate in the bid process before the Wednesday, Jan. 15 deadline.
Anderson said the current uniforms were originally purchased in 2006 and ordered for a band of nearly 80 kids for a total cost of about $40,000. This time around, he said, the order will include 130 uniforms for an anticipated total cost of $75,000, depending on the bids that come in.
Not only was the previous purchase meant for a smaller band, Anderson said, but the current uniforms have a more basic design than what is proposed for the brand new uniforms. He said the uniforms that were replaced before the current ones were 18 years old.
"It's kind of hard to compare it – it's like apples and oranges," Anderson said.
Anderson said the typical band uniform lifespan is between 10 and 12 years. He said it's important for marching band programs to stay reasonably on trend with the activity as it continues to be transformed and reinvented.
Anderson said some marching band programs opt to change their uniforms every year to match their show theme. Between current tuition for students to participate, he said, that's not something the Yorkville High School band program elects to do.
"I think, for us, we prefer to ... make it more accessible for everybody and make [the uniforms] last longer," Anderson said.
Anderson said the hope is to have the new band uniform purchase approved by the full Yorkville Board of Education at the end of the month.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 at the Yorkville High School library on Game Farm Road.