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Band member Taja Wright models the new Onalaska Hilltopper uniform.

Contributed

The Onalaska Marching Band has been wearing the same uniforms for over 16 years but a new fundraising campaign hopes to change that.

The old uniforms have been worn by hundreds of students on parades, at events like the Freedom Honor Flights and on trips to Disney World, Camp Randall, Lambeau Field and the Outback Bowl, said band director Robert Coe, but are now reaching the end of the road.

“Our current uniform design can no longer be made,” said Coe. “This gives us an opportunity to update our look with a uniform design that will serve us for the next several decades.”

The new uniform will replace the purple pants, white wool jacket with gold/purple trim and the purple Aussie hats that has represented the Hilltopper Marching Band for many decades. Coe said the new uniform has clean lines, a black and purple base and includes the Aussie hat that has always been a signature piece of the Hilltopper uniform. The uniform was unveiled at the recent Fall Marching Band Revue Concert.

“Our goal has always been to give our students as many opportunity to perform and represent our school and community as possible,” said Coe. “In exchange, our members have great experiences, grow as people and make memories that last a lifetime.”

Band membership has grown in recent years to the point that this year there were not enough uniforms for all the members. As a result, percussionists and tuba players have been wearing an all-black uniform this year.

“We are thrilled with the growth we are seeing in the program,” said Coe. “We currently have 145 members and the band is projected to see even greater growth in the coming years.”

The goal of the fundraising campaign is to raise $115,000 but that won’t just pay for uniforms.

Coe said the money would allow the band to outfit all its members, including expected growth in the future, and help fund the purchase of a new trailer that will accompany the group to all competitions and performances. The goal is to debut the new uniforms at the opening football game of the 2018 season.

“We are fortunate to live in a community that is so supportive of our schools. We are hopeful that with the community’s support we can reach our goal,” said Coe.

Community members that are interested in making a donation to the project can contact Coe at Onalaska High School by calling 608-783-4561 or visit the bands website www.onalaskabands.com.

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Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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