CHS band uniforms

Conway flag girls show off their new band costumes.

The Conway High School Marching Tigers will have a little extra pep in their step when they take the field during tomorrow night’s football game against Nation Ford.

For the first time in decades, the band will be sporting completely new attire featuring the CHS logo and school colors.

“We’re looking forward to putting them out there and letting the community see what they paid for,” second-year band director Bryan Lodge said. “We’re real excited.”

Donning the new uniforms signals the end of a successful $35,000 fundraising campaign that began several years ago and took longer than anticipated.

The band’s original plan was to wear new uniforms this past school year, but that wasn’t possible because each uniform is handmade and it took about a year to create 75 uniforms.

“We ordered the uniforms at the start of the school year,” Lodge said. “We thought the new uniforms would be here in January but they didn’t come in until May.”

In the meantime, the company making the new uniforms loaned CHS green and white uniforms with the letters WF on them that another school had ordered and chose not to accept. Although the band appreciated the gesture, it didn’t feel “quite right.”

The new uniforms, designed by former CHS band director Robert Christy, look and feel like they belong to Conway.

“I know he’s real happy the kids are benefitting from his hard work,” Lodge said. “They match the football team’s uniforms, the cheerleaders’ uniforms and the school colors. They have the Conway logo.”

Lodge is grateful for everyone who played a role in obtaining the new uniforms especially the Band Boosters Club and parents, Principal Lee James and the administration, the CHS Fine Arts Club, students, community residents and others.

“I just want to thank everyone who donated,” he said. “I thank the community for their continued support. We want to do our best to represent Conway well and make our community proud.”

The pants are scheduled to arrive today, just in time for tomorrow’s big debut.

“The unveiling, it’s been a long time in the making,” Lodge said. “The kids are real excited. They will act proud and stand a little taller. I know we’ll feel real good Friday night.”

Lodge, who served as assistant band director for two years before taking over for Christy, is excited about this year’s band.

“Right now we have 61 members in the competition marching band 85 all together,” he said.

Lodge started a beginner band this past year, and, in a break from the past, has given high school students, who didn’t become members while they were in middle school, an opportunity to join the band now.

“The numbers are definitely growing,” he said. “We have 75 new uniforms and now we’ll have to get more because the band is getting bigger. That’s exciting.”

The band’s competition and halftime show this year is entitled The Nightmare before Christmas and will feature music from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

The show features more music, marching, props and twirlers, etc. than ever before.

The band will also perform and travel more than ever.

In addition to attending every home and away football game, the band will participate in all competitions in Horry County as well as Lower State in Charleston.

“They haven’t done that in a long time,” Lodge said. “I’m trying to step it all up. We’re growing.”

Also, the band and orchestra traveled to Atlanta, Ga., this past spring and will perform at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., in April.

Anyone who is interested in helping the band with expenses can contact CHS Band Booster Club President Ali Ruschel at (843) 274-2809.

“It all costs money,” Lodge said. “We are always underfunded for everything.”

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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