Becoming The Pride
The Pride of Rochester Marching Band, a thriving performing ensemble in one of the New York’s lowest achieving cities, went through a complete re-branding this past year. We changed our name from “RCSD Districtwide Marching Band” to “The Pride of Rochester Marching Band”. Thanks to much support from our Arts Supervisor and our district, we were able to get new uniforms, and put our donated uniforms back in the closet. We changed our color scheme from blue and white to black and gold, and now prominently feature our lion logo on all of our different looks. As soon as our students put the uniforms on for the first time, their posture immediately changed, and their self-confidence has grown throughout the year. It has been an amazing to change to watch, and I am so happy to be able to be a part of it.
Most of our students are low-income, and the Rochester City School District is one of the poorest and low achieving districts in the state. But our students defy the odds and shine! The community is incredibly impressed with our new look.
Overview of planning and execution process for this project
The initial planning for this started in May 2018, but we didn’t get the wheels turning until September 2018, when our uniforms were delivered. This resulted in a complete re-brand that has evolved throughout the 2018-2019 school year. Our logo was updated, we purchased a new banner, and we completely changed the look of our social media.
Sponsors/charities/volunteers/ other groups involved in the project and the benefits to each.
Rochester Education Foundation has been fundamental in all of our success. They work as our “booster” organization, so they were there to help us fund anything that we needed to help boost our presence as “The Pride”.
One of our students was in a refugee camp three years ago, now he has traveled to Hersheypark for the first time. Many of our students left Rochester for the first time this year. We walk through a parade and hear our Rochester community members cheer extra loud for us because we are the “home team”. Our previous superintendent asked us to play at her opening address for the entire district. I am handing out my first ever John Philip Sousa award to our first senior this Saturday at our banquet. These moments are all ripples in the impact that The Pride is bringing to the city of Rochester.
Specific Budget Breakdown
Our district was incredible and able to purchase our uniforms, as well as any accessory items that came with it (dri-fit shirts for under the uniform, drum wraps, etc.).
New or recurring project?New Project
Challenges/obstacles that were encountered
There was some push back at first about changing the colors of our entire entity, but after the uniform was revealed, there was a lot more support.
Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?
I almost don’t know how to explain it, but there has been more “buy in” into our program. It was always a dream of mine to take The Pride on an overnight trip, and we were able to make that happen because so many community members and parents stepped in to help. Our students have a lot more self-confidence, and our performance quality has increased over the span of a year. I get a lot of compliments from respected colleagues about how good our uniforms looks and how much we have improved as an ensemble. Our color guard even got a special shout out for performance quality at Herhseypark, and that is all a testament to buy in. As far as data goes, we increased our performances from ~15 to ~20, we grew about 10 members and were able to retain them throughout the year, and this year we were paid for parades we had never been compensated for. I have attached a kind letter that we received after our performance in Rochester’s Memorial Day Parade.
Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?
DO IT! I will help you get started if you need it. It will be so rewarding, and such an amazing investment in your community. Startup will be difficult, but once the community “sees” you, they will never forget you.