"A dream come true" in the form of new uniforms
“A dream come true” stated Joel Williams, Fruitland band director. The band has been the recipient of two significant grants which will lead to the purchase of new uniforms.
"Our current band uniforms are old enough to buy lottery tickets” quipped Williams alluding to the fact that uniforms usually last about 10 years and through careful maintenance by parents, the band managed to get 18 seasons out of their uniforms last purchased by the school district in 2000.
“We had a group of parents including Jeretta Shoemaker, Jill Stephens, and Robert Uriu write a grant from the Laura More Cunningham foundation”. The grant was accepted and funded in early July. The grant, in the amount of $35,000, was delivered along with a letter extolling the efforts of the Fruitland Grizzly Band & Color Guard and encouraging the band to “keep up the good work in Fruitland”. The Laura Moore Cunningham foundation has been providing grants and scholarships to support Idaho non-profits for over 50 years.
That provided nearly half of the $80,000 necessary to purchase new uniforms for the 120 member band. Since then the band has grown, uniform costs have risen, and state funding dollars for discretionary spending have fluctuated.
"Having a big band creates some challenges because uniforming a lot of members gets really expensive” said Williams. “We have to purchase extra uniforms, matching shoes, head ware, and all the parts that people see during a performance.”
The school district simply didn’t have that kind of money available, so members of the band boosters organization stepped up and wrote the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation grant.
Fruitland community member Reece Hrizuk heard of the bands efforts to obtain funding for new uniforms. Hrizuk, a Fruitland band alumnus, who is also the executor of the Robert M. Milovich Trust, decided to make a donation on behalf of the fund. “Bob and his late wife Peggy were generous benefactors of the Fruitland Community. Bob entrusted me to continue the Milovich legacy of charitable giving following his death. I can think of no better way to continue the Milovich legacy than by ensuring that future generations of Fruitland band students have uniforms that all of Fruitland can be proud of.” said Hrizuk who graduated from Fruitland High School in 2005.
Fruitland High School Principal Mike Fitch was impressed with the donation. "Our community supports all things in all ways without question and if it was not for their willing support (financial and otherwise) there is no way our students would reach the heights they regularly achieve. Fruitland High School and our community will literally look better now thanks to this donation”
The two grants in partnership with band booster efforts and Fruitland school district funding will make new uniforms a reality in the coming months.
Teresa Fabricious, Fruitland Superintendent said, "What a wonderful statement on the tremendous support our marching band receives from the community--and, in turn, the students, staff, and parents work hard to represent Fruitland in a manner that makes our community proud. Thank you to everyone involved in making these new uniforms a reality."
“We take nothing for granted. The community values their school band because we are involved and, a positive reflection on Fruitland. When we go anywhere, opinions are being formed about Fruitland High School and the Community of Fruitland based on this highly visible organization (band). We want those opinions to be positive and that takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. I can’t say enough about the support the band gets in Fruitland and we appreciate it very much.” Williams stated.
The Fruitland Grizzly Band & Color Guard is known as "The Pride of Western Idaho”. The band competes at the 5A level in local competitions and represents Fruitland as they perform across the State of Idaho. The band travels regionally to compete in Washington and California. The group has represented the State of Idaho at the 2013 Fiesta Bowl Parade in Arizona, performed in Hawaii, and was recently the featured performing group at the Idaho All State Music Educators Conference in Moscow, Idaho.
This fall, the Grizzlies will perform at Disneyland in Southern California and local marching band competitions in Caldwell, Parma, and Boise as well as all home Fruitland football games.
The uniform order will be placed in the coming weeks with delivery scheduled for January 2019