Cunningham Foundation gives treasure to Pirate bands

Payette High School student Alex Aguilar models the marching band’s new uniform design, now being purchased with the help of a grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

PAYETTE — Even as COVID-19 leaves high school marching bands marooned for opportunities to play together, the Payette High School marching band has remained committed to changing out its uniforms for when the pandemic abates. Now Payette has had a hand up from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, in the form of a $20,000 grant toward the purchase of new uniforms.

In an email to the newspaper on Aug. 19, Band Director Eric Held said networking with local competition helped them find this grant.

“The Payette Band Boosters heard about it from the Fruitland Band Boosters when they received a grant for uniforms a few years ago,” said Held. “I had also been a recipient of a scholarship from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation when I attended Boise State University from fall 2011-winter 2015.”

Held said the application process mainly entailed demonstrating where the grant monies would go.

“We applied as a group within the Payette School District. The main focus on the grant was what was the funding needed for, how was the band working to fund the project outside of grant requests, and how would it impact the community.”

While the Payette School District had already budgeted monies toward the new uniforms, Held said this grant is intended to cover what the District cannot. The bands also held several fundraisers earlier this year to cover uniform costs.

“We are using the grant, in addition to $30,000 the school district set aside and through donations from the community of $6,200, to pay for 100 regular band uniforms and five uniforms for drum majors who conduct the band during marching season. The total price for this is $53,374. We will be using the funds to pay for the uniforms and the remaining funds will be used for uniform maintenance and purchasing marching shoes that aren’t in the uniform bid.” 

Held said the uniforms are to be ordered within the next two weeks, upon consolidating funds to allow the District to place said order. 

“As for delivery, we have to fit our students for this year and next year. After that, it takes about five months for the uniforms to be made.”

It is Held’s aim to have the uniforms by March 2021.

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