$40,000 donation made for band uniforms


Terri-Lynn Frasher

Thanks to a donation from Robert Corley, new uniforms will be ordered to replace the outdated version the band has been using since the 1990s. This semester the band choose to wear matching hooded sweatshirts while waiting on the new uniforms to arrive.

A $40,000 donation from Missouri Southern supporter Robert Corley for new band uniforms was officially announced at the Board of Governors meeting Friday, Nov. 21.

JoAnn Graffam, vice president of development and executive director of the Missouri Southern Foundation, said the need for new uniforms has been a long-running discussion in the music department.

According to Interim Department Head of Music Brian Fronzaglia, until this school year, the Southern band had been using the same uniforms for at least 14 years.

This year, because the size of the band outgrew the number of uniform jackets, the band has been wearing embroidered hoodies instead.

Fronzaglia and Director of Bands Dr. Rick Espinosa said they have been discussing new uniform design and cost since February of this year. Graffam said they knew Corley had an interest in the arts and music, and after deciding on a design and establishing the cost, they approached him about the donation.

Graffam said that although sometimes donors are only able to partially fund projects, they were lucky that Corley agreed to cover the whole cost.

Corley has funded many other projects on campus, including the Corley Auditorium and an endowed scholarship, among others.

“He’s a patron of the arts and he’s a believer in education,” said Graffam of Corley.

Although the band’s numbers sit at just under 100, the donation will cover 150 jackets, leaving room for growth. Espinosa said he hopes to see 130 band members by fall 2015.

“The marching band is such a visible face of the … music department,” said Espinosa. “This is a big part of sort of branding our department.”

Fronzaglia, Espinosa and Graffam expect to receive a prototype uniform before the end of the semester to present to Corley for his approval. Fronzaglia said once the design is finalized, they anticipate a maximum three-month wait for the uniforms, ensuring their use by fall 2015.

“This wouldn’t be possible without his generous donation,” said Fronzaglia. “We are very thankful for how supportive our community has been of our program.”