CUYAHOGA FALLS — School days return and with it, football games and the sound of marching bands. The Cuyahoga Falls Marching Tiger Band will be wearing their new uniforms, replacing 23-year-old uniforms.
The CFHS Marching Tiger Band will host the Preview of the Bands Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at Cuyahoga Falls High School Clifford Stadium.
Participating bands include St. Vincent-St. Mary, Green, Massillon, Kent, Woodridge, Hudson, Mogadore, the Pride of Cuyahoga Falls Alumni Band and the CFHS Marching Tiger Band.
The CFHS Marching Tiger Band will be wearing new uniforms, which were purchased by the Instrumental Music Patrons after raising funds for nine months.
IMP Uniform Campaign Co-Chairs Terri Criss and Kathy Emnett raised $125,000 for the 190 new uniforms, storm coats, garment bags and 10 majorette uniforms.
They wanted to thank the band family, alumni, corporate sponsors, local businesses and the community for donating. The Cuyahoga Falls class of 1958 donated $20,000.
"We wrote a lot of letters to alumni and businesses," Emnett said. "We also used social media with dining to donate and flash mobs."
An unlikely helper was "Stan the Man" who created awareness with his two-dimensional presence.
Stan was sent by the uniform company, Stanbury. He was a life-size depiction of "Stan" in the new band uniform. Criss and Emnett put Stan on sign board and took him around town to promote the need for the new uniforms.
"We took him to the ice rink," Emnett said. "You could stand next to him and take your picture."
Stan was featured on the band’s Facebook page, Emnett said. It gave viewers a reason to look at the page.
A big motivation for Criss and Emnett were their sons, both seniors in the band.
"We wanted to see our boys in the new uniforms," Emnett said.
The black uniforms have a white front panel with "CF" in black edged in gold and gold buttons lining the edge of the panel. "Tigers" is printed in gold on the back.
"The uniforms have an updated look made with a lighter wool blend," Criss said.
The previous uniforms were purchased in 1993 and have been used for 23 years, Criss said.
"Uniforms usually last 8 to 12 years," she added.
The Cuyahoga Falls Band Director Dustin Harris said there are 170 members in the band this year. Each member has to audition in the spring.
"They have to be able to play the instrument and pass the audition," Harris said. "We can teach them to march."
Practice began July 17 and the last football game is Oct. 28, Harris said. The next day they perform at Cedar Point.
The CFHS Marching Band’s theme show is Rebel Rock, and they have a major routine they work on and perfect throughout the season for the Buckeye Invitational at The Ohio State University Oct. 14.
In addition to the Rebel Rock, the band plays patriotic music, a salute to the Armed Forces and the "Double Tiger Lines" fight song by Bob Felbush.
"This year we’ve worked hard to implement a leadership group for a more positive impact and to create good relationships and working together," Harris said.
Four seniors, two juniors and two sophomores make the leadership group, he said. In addition there are 42 squad leaders.
The show Aug. 15 is not a competition, Harris said. It showcases the different bands.
"It shows what you’ve accomplished and what the kids can do," Harris said.
The Pride of Cuyahoga Falls Alumni Band will perform Aug. 15 as well. President Mark Bowers said alumni come from all over the United States to play in the annual concert.
In 2016 Matt Warren, a 2015 CFHS graduate was serving in Afghanistan in the Army and scheduled his leave so he could attend the Preview of the Bands, Bowers said. He’s back on deployment now.
"We are the largest and most active high school alumni band in the U.S., doing two parades and our home band show every year," Bowers said.
Formed in 1969, Aug. 15 will by the alumni’s 48th performance, he said. Members span from the class of 1966 to the class of 2017.
The community can vote on what song from a choice of five the Alumni Band will perform, Harris said. They chose "Open Arms" by Journey for this year’s show.
"It was the overwhelming choice," Harris said. "We did a Journey song, 'Faithfully,' two years ago. It's a classic power ballad."
The Alumni Band has provided a scholarship for the past nine years to a senior in the high school instrumental music program and supports the current Tiger Band and its directors, Harris said.
Why do the alumni band members keep returning?
"They want to do it one more time," Harris said.
The Preview of the Bands gives them that chance.