Uniforms needed for Battle Mountain High School band

The Battle Mountain High School band will attend the Nevada 150-year celebration in Carson City, and they need uniforms in order to look sharp and represent the community.

Lander County Commissioner Kathy Ancho asked for the matter to be discussed with Lander County Music Educator John Gist and BMHS Principal Sondra Torgerson because she is on the Nevada Day Parade committee and asked that the high school band participate. Ancho said, “I thought they would be an awesome representation of the county. I’ve heard that it is going to cost approximately $4,500 to purchase uniforms and I don’t want the full impact to have to be absorbed by the school, since we are asking for their participation.”

Gist said he received a request earlier in the year from the Nevada Day Parade Committee in Carson City. 

“This is the centennial of there being 17 counties in Nevada,” said Gist. “I received a letter saying they were hoping to have a marching band from every county participate in the parade. We did our pre-registration this year and I’ve got 30 kids in the high school band next year, which is just barely enough to go down the street and not look stupid; so, I think it would be awesome if we went and did it.” 

Gist stated his number one priority is that when he asks his students to perform, they are prepared, and they represent their community well. “In order to do that, we need to put them into some uniforms to go down the street. I think I can do that for about $125 a kid, if I pull a few strings. I think we can come up with something that would serve us if we occasionally do a little marching, and then the uniforms would also serve us as concert uniforms, as most of our performances are as a symphonic concert band.” 

Asked what they do now for concert performances, Gist said, “We do black and black. Over the past five years I’ve managed to put my choir in formal dress because my first year here in Lander County, we went to sing for the first time and I told the girls to wear dresses, and they wore dresses I was not expecting them to wear. So, we started buying a few at a time, and now the choir looks pretty great. There are some band uniforms I found when I got here that are not quite as old as I am, but they’re pretty close. And there’s not enough of them to do what we need to do. Let’s just say they’re not real trendy anymore. I’ve had the kids just wear black shirts and black slacks, and that’s everything from a black T-shirt to black bicycle shorts.”

Gist and the kids have done some fundraising in order to attend some performances, but there are a lot of other needs, such as instruments and repairs. Gist said, “I was hoping people would see the band next to the choir and want to step up.”

Gist said fundraisers would be organized to take care of their accommodations, because depending on the time they are needed, the band may have to spend the night in Carson City. He said before school was out, the students talked about the possibility of attending, and they were very excited. 

Lander County District Attorney Ted Herrera clarified the county can certainly give money to the band for uniforms but there must be a specific request and amount, and the purpose of the discussion was to determine that.

Gist said his hope is that $3,700 would cover the cost of black tuxedo pants, short-waisted Eton jackets, and hats, and he would have the kids buy their own shoes, green pleated shirts and ties. Gist said because they are the Longhorns, he thinks a wide-brimmed gaucho hat with a gold brim would look good.

“Then all they would have to do is take off their hats and they’re in a concert uniform,” said Gist. “They will have class and they will look right.”

Gist and Torgerson had the support of the commissioners, who asked them to get the amount and request ready for the next agenda.

Commissioner Art Clark said, “Let’s do this right. Let’s not mince pennies here. Get nice uniforms. And especially the headgear – that’s expensive.”

Commissioner Patsy Waits asked them to put it on the agenda with an amount, and she suggested $5,000. 

“We’re excited to think that Lander County could be represented by our band,” said Waits.