Gables High band gets sporty new look; instruments still need Rx
The T-shirts are out, sporty golf shirts are in, and new uniforms are on the horizon for the young musicians in the Band of Distinction at Coral Gables Senior High School.
The next challenge is coming up at least $7,000 for instrument repairs, and a group of school-spirited alumni — Patrons of the Band — is appealing to the community for help.
How bad is the problem?
“During a recent competition, one of the trombones wouldn’t play and they had to borrow one from one of the other bands for the competition,” explained David Habershaw, a 1956 alumnus.
A former member of the Band of Distinction, Mr. Habershaw was also alarmed to learn from fellow graduate Louan (Jones) Zagarino that instead of traditional uniforms, band members were wearing red T-shirts and khaki pants at their performances.
The available band uniforms were 10-15 years old — and looked it. “How deplorable!” he said.
“As all of you may remember, our band(s) … were a symbol of our school pride and pride in our community,” Mr. Habershaw told fellow alums in an e-mail seeking support. “A significant factor with how we performed was how we looked in uniform and how we sounded. That same factor is as important with today’s performers as it was in our day.”
Although Principal Adolfo Acosta recently found sufficient dollars for 50 new band uniforms, the outfits couldn’t be ordered and delivered in time for the 2012 football season.
Mr. Habershaw, Mrs. Zagarino and Band Director Kevin Muncy met and came up with a temporary, cost-effective plan for this season: bright red, golf-style shirts, embroidered with the school crest.
With Mr. Habershaw’s background in special products marketing and connection with a wholesale shirt supplier, the Patrons of the Band sent out an appeal to raise $750 for 41 shirts, one for each band member.
Alumni and Gables High supporters quickly donated $2,000, and the new shirts arrived just in time for the Cavaliers’ crucial game Oct. 5 against rival South Miami.
“It really is a great feeling to be able to help these kids. When we took the shirts to them they were so excited that it made me tear up. They are so grateful,” said Mrs. Zagarino, whose grandson plays clarinet in the Band of Distinction.
Mrs. Zagarino was on hand for the South Miami game and proudly watched the band’s halftime performance. “They wore their new shirts, so they looked good as well as sounded good,” she said.
Mr. Habershaw agreed, saying the band “looked really sharp. … Perhaps the ‘new look’ was an omen because Gables won the game (6-0).”
The initial donations not only covered the new shirts, but that dysfunctional trombone and a few others instruments are getting needed repairs. But the band director estimates $7,000 to $10,000 is needed to get all the instruments sounding their best.
The goal is to have the new uniforms and repaired instruments ready and waiting for the 50 band members expected in the 2013-14 school year.
Donations may be sent to: Louan Zagarino, 731 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134.
And if anyone has an old band instrument to donate, contact Mr. Habershaw at [email protected]. “We’ll discuss it and see if the band can use it and how we can get it to them.”