WAVERLY - With contagious energy, Jim Vowels sings, dances and plays instruments while directing band practice.
"That's it. That's it right there. I've got goose bumps," he says.
His musicians at Waverly-Shell Rock High School are gearing up for a pancake breakfast Saturday to raise money for new uniforms. After 17 years, it's time for a new look.
With help from the community and booster club members, the $64,000 goal for the gold, black and white uniforms and hats is within reach. The school is planning to purchase 150, spending about $405 on each.
A sponsorship program implemented in January, coupled with extensive fundraising projects, so far has generated about $50,000.
"It's been very successful," said Ramona Hodgerson, a member of the band auxiliary board. "We're very excited about how it's been embraced and to have people come alongside us to reach our goal."
Sponsorships cost $325 and will include a monogram of the family or business on the uniform bag and a certificate of appreciation. The donations also are tax-deductible.
"The community has really stepped up," Vowels said.
He added it's important "for our home folks to understand who we are and what we're all about."
The Go-Hawks marching band performs at halftime for every home and playoff football game. Then there are wrestling matches, basketball games and other school sports. Collaborations with the University of Northern Iowa marching band and performances at Wartburg College's homecoming also are included in the band's schedule along with annual concerts on Memorial Day in Waverly and Shell Rock.
"We take a lot of pride in performing for our own folks," Vowels said. "I think the band has a very positive standing in both Waverly and Shell Rock."
Jenny Hansen, a junior drum major, is excited about the new uniforms, which include actual feathers on the hats.
"I like them a lot. The other ones were really old and worn," she said.
The updated style is bittersweet for Andrew Withers, a graduating senior who wore the old uniforms for four years. But he concedes it's time for a new version.
"The old ones are hot when it's hot and cold when it's cold," Withers said.
Uniform technology has evolved significantly since the early 1990s when Waverly-Shell Rock purchased the last set, according to Vowels. New materials are lighter and able to stretch. They are also washable, which will save money on dry cleaning.
The pancake breakfast performance will be from 7 to 11 a.m. at The Center in Waverly. Donations will be accepted.
For information on sponsorships, email email@example.com or call the high school at 352-2087.