BGSU’s new band uniforms are hip, timeless
Falcon Marching Band debuts new uniforms during Falcon Family Weekend
By Bob Cunningham
For the first time in 14 years, the Falcon Marching Band has new uniforms, and the FMB got to show them off Sept. 9 during Falcon Family Weekend.
The marching band always has been one of the most well-known representatives of Bowling Green State University, but during the festivities for the football home-opener against South Dakota at Doyt Perry Stadium, there was just a little more pep in its step.
“The students were super psyched; they were really, really excited,” said Dr. Michael King, the director of the band. “They love the look of the uniform and the way we were able to get the BGSU peekaboo logo front and center on it.”
The nearly two-year process began with a planning committee in November 2015 and a campaign kickoff soon after, resulting in the brown, orange and white uniforms arriving just days before the first home football game. Stanbury Uniforms, a Missouri-based company with a Warren, Ohio, supplier, produced the uniforms from concept to drop-off.
“Although I liked last year’s uniforms, I think the vibrant colors and crisp designs of the new uniforms really enhance our presence on and off the field,” said sophomore Alexa York, a music education major who plays trumpet in the band. “My favorite part is the panel back cape that goes over our right shoulder.”
The coat features the BGSU peekaboo logo atop a triangular orange field, with white sleeves and a brown back, which allows for “a really nice flip, or color change, when we change directions,” King said. The coat also features optional gauntlets that are worn over the wrists.
“We didn’t wear them this weekend, but they give us an opportunity to have more of a contemporary look. These new coats have trim on the bottom edge, so we don’t necessarily have to wear the gauntlets at all times.”
The shakos are similar to the old hats in some ways, he said. They still have a gold triangle like the old uniforms but it’s flipped in the other direction. There is an orange ribbon near the bottom of the hat, just above the visor. The shako is white most of the way around its cylindrical shape, with a brown top and a long orange plume.
King said the uniforms have a removable drape on the back of the right shoulder with the word “Falcons” embroidered on it. Dark brown pants complete the timeless look of the uniforms.
“The uniforms are definitely different from what we had before in a good way,” King said. “They are a better representation of the University at this point in time. Plus, they are more timeless in terms of design.”
One of the features enabled by Stanbury is customizable fabric, which was dyed to meet the specific brown and orange Pantone shades that represent BGSU’s color scheme. The fabric also makes the uniform a little more versatile, and it’s lighter than wool, King said.
The drum majors’ uniforms will be substantially different than in past years. They wore mainly white before, and now they primarily will wear dark brown. They’ll also have the same pants as the rest of the band, but their coats are predominantly brown, with some orange trim on the bottom.
“This is the first completely new uniform we’ve had since 2003,” King said. “Our former uniform did have a redesign in 2012 to incorporate the change of the logo, but 14 years is a long go in between new uniforms. It’s going to be nice to have the members of the band in a product that’s very representative of what’s popular in the marching band field but, at the same time, timeless in terms of its look.”
The band is receiving new raincoats as well, complete with a modern design. They are made of a hybrid Thinsulate® fabric on the inside that’s thinner than their predecessors but still warm enough to wear in cold weather.
“The raincoats still provide the warmth we need late in the season, but we’re not putting a student in a situation where they’re going to overheat or anything like that during the hotter portion of the season,” King said.
Not only will the new uniforms make the current FMB members happy, but future ones as well because King envisions the uniforms being a tool for recruitment and outreach.
“It makes us recognizable off this campus,” he said. “We’ve basically taken the BGSU peekaboo, which has become the main recognizable marketing piece of the University, and it’s now front and center on our uniforms — there will be no question about who we are. It will be very clear out on social media when we perform at Bands of America Marching Championship Grand Nationals in November that we’re the Falcon Marching Band and we’re the representation of BGSU.
“Certainly, a new uniform is very attractive to any new student looking at a band. There are students now, believe it or not, for whom a large portion of their college decision will be based on what band they want to be in. They’re very academically talented and are able to go wherever they wish, and for them to be in a new look that they’re proud of as opposed to putting one on that’s more than 10 years old is a really important piece for us.”
King said having a clear plan from the beginning is what helped the University put the new uniforms on the backs of the talented members of the band.
“We had a committee with representation from alumni, donors, Athletics, Development and the president’s office,” he said. “I think what we really did right with this uniform is we sat together and we all looked at every uniform in the MAC, as well as other uniforms around the country and past uniforms from the FMB, and said, ‘What is it that we want our uniforms to represent?’ All feedback from donors and alumni has been very positive, and we can’t thank them enough. We feel like this uniform is going to be a really good representation of the University and the band as well.”