Recently, the Northview Marching Knights program learned it had received another grant through the Pepsi Foundation.
The first was for $25,000, and was to help fund several items for the program, including the funding of guest artists, funding other concerts, the purchasing of music arrangements, funding a soundtrack for the Winter Guard, and more.
The second was for $50,000, and was to help purchase marching band uniforms, percussion equipment, guard uniforms, cheerleading uniforms, sound equipment and a sewing machine.
The program learned it had received the grant funding in January.
Now, Northview High School band director Bob Medworth and others have begun the process of looking at what they can do to upgrade the band's uniforms.
"We just started," Medworth said. "We waited until we found out we got the grant. We have met with uniform companies and we're talking with them about what we would like to see changed in our uniforms."
The most recent grant the program was awarded called for $37,500 to be used for uniforms.
However, Medworth said that figure alone would not help purchase a new set of uniforms.
"Even though the grant money sounds like a lot, it won't come close to paying for a full set of uniforms," he said. "We will get designs and quotes back and then figure out what they want to do to improve (the current band uniform). The options are all out there. We've just got to wait to see what happens."
Medworth said a new uniform can cost up to $350 per student, and that figure does not include the extras that go with uniforms.
"You also need to buy extra (uniforms)," he said. "You can't just buy the exact number. You have to buy different sizes."
Medworth said the program would have to purchase at least 100 new uniforms, not counting color guard outfits.
"We knew this all along," he said. "We just have to decide once we see the quotes."
The band has used the current uniforms since the 2003-04 season.
"The life of a uniform is 7-10 years at the most," Medworth said. "We knew in the back of our minds that something had to be done. But, we also knew with the economy, we weren't sure what could possibly be done."
He said since coming to the corporation, the band program has had at least four sets of uniforms. Parents of students made the first two sets and the program has purchased two other sets.
He said uniform changes would be a must for the program.
"The jacket styles have changed in the years since we designed the jacket," he said. "We think there are a couple of ways to make the jacket sleeker, cleaner looking."
Medworth added he doubted the program would pursue any more Pepsi grants in the future.
"I doubt it," he said. "Certainly, there's a whole world of grant writing out there and it takes a lot of time and talent.
"I think it was exhausting for everybody who participated. It's pretty stressful."
The next grant tier through the Pepsi Refresh Everything Foundation was $250,000 and Medworth said only two winners were selected monthly at that level.
"We saw from watching it happen all year the $250,000 category was usually won by organizations with a national support base," Medworth said.
Medworth said making a decision on the uniforms should come soon.
"If you don't order something new by mid-March, you won't be wearing it by next fall," Medworth said. "That why we've got to act now."