The University of the Incarnate Word’s Marching Cardinals Band marched in the Fiesta Flambeau Parade Saturday, April 25, in their brand-new uniforms.
The uniforms were ordered earlier this spring and arrived in time for the band to decide whether to wear them in the parade or wait for the first home football game this fall, scheduled Sept. 5 against Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Whatever the weather, everyone wanted to wear the new uniform in the parade, said Dr. Brett A. Richardson, coordinator of music education and band director.
The first uniform actually made its public debut in an unveiling ceremony in February inside Ingrid Seddon Recital Hall of the new Music Building. Some members of the band – wearing the old uniform consisting of a red Nike polo shirt, black pants, black shoes and black belt – played the new “Cardinal Fight” song to build up suspense. The new song was composed by Professor Tommy Fry, a nationally known composer and husband of UIW’s registrar, Dr. Bobbye Fry.
After the crowd got into the song taught by Richardson, band member Arnie Hernandez, a sophomore music education major who was waiting off stage, walked in modeling the new uniform.
For Richardson, it was a triumphant moment.
“I will never forget sitting in my truck in Bloomington, Ind. – less than a week after accepting the position here at the University of the Incarnate Word – and receiving a phone call from Dr. (David) Jurenovich (vice president for enrollment management and student services) asking me, ‘How do we get uniforms for the band?’ I sat stunned.”
But Richardson laid out a one-year plan for the design, production and acquisition of the uniforms and with the help of a number of people on various committees and donations, by February a purchase order for 125 uniforms at a cost of $408 each was made. More uniforms were ordered than the present size of the band to cope with the unit’s anticipated growth.
“The company sent an average set of sizes to cover a wide variety of students,” Richardson said. “If we absolutely need to order some more uniforms because we don’t have enough that fit, we can. People can still donate through our GoFundMe page or through the UIW development office.”
Having a proper uniform is a big boost for the band program, Richardson said.
“A proper uniform instills pride in any member of an organization and the Marching Cardinals have desperately needed one since its inception,” Richardson.
The band program was created with the debut of UIW’s football program. The basketball band will continue to wear the old uniforms when it performs, Richardson said.
“Imagine our athletics teams, ROTC or cheerleaders participating in their activities without proper identifying garments,” Richardson said. “While they may possess the capabilities to participate in their activity, the lack of a uniform in many ways detracts from what they are capable of. The uniform creates a sense of identity and team – and that’s what I hope our new uniform will do for the Marching Cardinals.
“A university’s marching band oftentimes serves as the ‘billboard’ for the university. Think about it. It’s a sizable group, acting as one, unified in the mission of supporting the university through their love of marching, music, and their fellow band members. It has the potential of being the most recognizable music ensemble on campus because of the size of the audiences it performs for. As well, the Marching Cardinals strives to be the ‘spirit barometer’ for UIW football contests – as the band goes, so do the fans.”
Richardson said the new uniform’s features were “specially crafted for us” by world-renowned Broadway designer Michael Cesario on behalf of Fred J. Miller Inc. of Ohio.
“Fred J. Miller was chosen because of its reputation as a leader in the design of uniforms for the pageantry arts,” he added. “They have designed for many prominent marching bands in America including the University of Alabama, Arizona State, Rutgers University, and some of our own area high schools. We are extremely pleased with the design and think it’s a modern, yet collegiate look that will add a lot to the overall band experience for the students here at UIW.”
Some of the features:
- The shako features a white, 14-inch plum which adds height to the marcher and lengthens the body.
- The silver pyramid on the shako represents the steeple of the Mother Chapel on campus.
- On the jacket itself, the Cardinal head logo is prominently in the center, while the university seal is embroidered on either sleeve.
- On the back of the jacket is a drop sash with the letters “UIW” embroidered upon it.
- White gauntlets will lend a clean, modern look to the ends of the sleeves, which meet the white gloves on the marcher’s hands.
- The slacks, or “bibbers,” will feature a Cardinal head on the pocket, which allows the band to represent the university even when the jackets are off in the stands.
“While the marcher will have a red jacket, our drum major will be wearing a white version with black trousers,” Richardson said. “A row of 12 silver buttons line the center of the band suit.”
Richardson is particularly proud of the students and alumni of the band.
“You have stayed the course by participating in this wonderful ensemble,” Richardson said. “We sincerely hope you are proud of these uniforms.”