Stephen Decatur Band Raising Money For New Uniforms

Stephen Decatur Band Raising Money For New Uniforms
Stephen Decatur High School band members are pictured with the trophies they won at a competition last weekend in Ohio. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – As the end of the school year nears, supporters of Stephen Decatur High School’s band program are making a final push in their efforts to raise money for new uniforms.

On May 3, the Stephen Decatur Music Boosters will hold a raffle drawing for a handcrafted guitar, guitar case and seven guitar lessons. Tickets, which cost $20 each or $100 for six, are still available. The fundraiser is one of several that have been held in an effort to replace the band’s nearly 30-year-old uniforms.

“We’re holding things together with safety pins,” said Stacy Paulsen, president of the boosters group.

According to Paulsen, the marching band’s uniforms were purchased in 1991. The boosters group has been trying to raise the $100,000 needed to purchase new ones for the past eight years.

“They’re pricey because we do a wool uniform because we’re mostly outside in the cold,” she said.

The school also has to purchase enough uniforms to outfit a band that varies in size from year to year. The group has been as small as 50 and as large as 100 students.

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Raffle tickets for a new guitar are currently being sold to raise money for the band.

The boosters group has now raised roughly $86,000 for uniforms. Though the Worcester County Board of Education has included some funding for uniforms in the budget for the coming fiscal year, Paulsen said her group would continue fundraising until the $100,000 goal had been reached. Members of the Stephen Decatur Music Boosters want to ensure the band maintains a good appearance.

“We are Decatur Strong and want to exude that confidence not only in our playing, but in our appearance as well,” said Band Director JD Foell in a news release.

Paulsen also addressed the importance of the band’s appearance.

“You see them in the community,” she said, adding that the band participated in local parades, football games and festivals. “They are representatives of the school. If anybody knows Stephen Decatur High School it’s through our band.”

In addition to local events, the band makes a trip to a major competition every four years. This year, Decatur’s student musicians traveled to Ohio, where they won several trophies last week, including first place orchestra, first place concert band, first place marching/color guard and first place outstanding performance marching band.

Paulsen, who has a child in the band, said participating in band is for many students the same as competing on a sports team.

“They do band because of competitions and traveling,” she said. “With every parade we’re competing. It’s their sport. They’re one big happy group and family. A lot of them have found friends in the band. It’s worthwhile.”

Supporters of the band are hopeful the community will show its support of the group by purchasing tickets for next week’s raffle. The guitar that’s up for grabs is a one-of-a-kind acoustic electric guitar that was handcrafted by Robbie Kilchenstein, a board member of the Stephen Decatur Music Boosters.

“It’s made of exotic and domestic hardwoods,” Paulsen said. “It’s a beautiful guitar.”

It also features a sketch of the Ocean City pier at sunrise by Jennell Willey, a local artist. For more information on the guitar or the raffle visit the boosters’ website,

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.