The Redcoat Marching Band is playing a new tune after completing its five-year mission of replacing gold instruments with silver ones.
Since 2008, the Redcoat Band spent about $250,000 on more than 140 silver instruments, including trumpets, mellophones, trombones and sousaphones, according to financial statements from the band.
John Lynch, director of the bands, said the money to purchase the silver instruments came from donations and funds from the Redcoat Band Alumni Association, the student activities fee, the University Athletic Association and the Redcoat Band Enrichment Fund.
Lynch said the plan to buy all silver instruments stemmed from the goal of making the band look more unified.
“If we have instruments that match, it just looks better,” he said. “In the marching band, you want everything to look precise and well-matched. If you have all different colors of metal out there on the field, it looks less than unified.”
Lee Butts, Redcoat Band Alumni Association board member, agreed.
“If you’re going to spend hours and hours of getting your ranks in line and getting the moves just right, it makes it easier to make a group of individuals look unified with all silver [instruments],” he said.
Allison Turner, the Redcoat Band captain from Acworth, said silver has become an iconic color for the University. With full silver lines of instruments, Turner said the full-silver color boosts the image of the band on the field and on television.
“We want to represent the University well, and the matching uniforms and instruments add to that,” she said.
However, the band didn’t just improve its look with the new instruments — it improved its sound.
Lynch said before replacing the gold instruments, some instruments were about 30 years old and in “pretty poor condition.”
“If the instrument isn’t working properly, it’s harder to play, and it won’t sound as good,” he said.
Still, Butts said one of the most important effects of purchasing the new instruments was the boost in band morale.
“When you’re a player, and you’re handed a nice, shiny instrument, it helps you become a part of the Redcoat family and proud to be part of the band,” he said.
Lynch said after coming from other universities, he has never seen a band program as supported by a school as the one at the University.
Since the beginning of July, the band has received approximately $30,000 from the Student Activities fee and the Athletic Association and hopes to raise more as the football season starts.
“Every year at homecoming, [the Redcoat Band Alumni Association] raises funds toward the needs of the band,” Lynch said. “And in the most recent years, our primary need has been to get silver instruments.”
Lynch said when he has communicated the band’s needs with people, they help.
“[The instruments] were the one thing we asked for, and they’re what we got,” he said.
Most of all, Lynch said the directors and the students just want to look better than other universities’ bands.
“We wanted to look better than any other band in the SEC,” he said. “Part of this was getting instruments to match.”
This story was updated Aug. 30, 2012 at 2:56 p.m. with documents of the Redcoat Band's instrument purchases.