NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 5, 2013

Grant funds purchase of new AHS band uniforms

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY – The Amesbury High School band will be outfitted in new uniforms this Saturday when it performs at the annual Holiday Parade and Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The new uniforms are red, black and white with silver jackets, black pants, and black and silver shakos or distinctive hats. They were purchased through a grant from the Student Enrichment Activity (SEA) Fund, created by the Amesbury High Class of 1960 and managed by the Amesbury Education Foundation Inc. (AEFI).

“The band has struggled due to the budget’s increased fees and the reduction of hours for the band director, but their morale is high and deserves our support,” said Patty Hoyt, who is on AEFI’s Board of Directors.

The band debuted the uniforms at last month’s Veterans Day Parade, and each of the band’s 73 members have been outfitted. They will wear the new uniforms during Saturday’s festivities, as well.

An additional 50 uniforms have also been purchased for future band members.

The high school’s band director Dan Fijalkowski said the program is proud to have new uniforms that will establish a new look and help Amesbury stand out going forward.

While the musicians will continue to use their old jackets and polos for less formal events, they will don the new outfits for events where the band itself is the focus. In the future, the band’s members hope to add “Amesbury” patches to the jacket sleeves as well as gauntlets, gloves and plumes, Fijalkowski said.

The uniforms have gone over well with the students too. Fijalkowski said that once everyone put them on and saw how they looked as a group, they were impressed.

The uniforms were purchased used in mid-October after Fijalkowski came across another high school that had them up for sale. That high school was about to purchase new uniforms, and when Fijalkowski found that they could be purchased for $40 each, he reached out to AEFI, who quickly responded with the money.

“If we got brand-new uniforms, they would have been over $200 per uniform,” Fijalkowski said. “They’re used, a band had a pretty big batch, but they’re in great shape, they took very good care of them and some of them are actually unused.”

The SEA Fund was created several years ago in honor of the Class of 1960’s 50th reunion and is used to support activities that enrich the educational experiences of Amesbury High students. According to AEFI president Laurie Knapp, the alumni remembered how activities like athletics and band helped keep them engaged and motivated, and how they used to be free for all.

By establishing the fund, the alumni could assist current students who struggle to pay the activity fees now required for participation.