The Southern Arkansas University Mulerider Band will sport a new look for the first time in more than 15 years thanks to a grant by the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust of Arkadelphia.
The grant of $100,000 will provide the majority of funding needed to purchase new uniforms.
J.P. Wilson, director of bands, thanked the Sturgis Trust for the grant that covers most of the cost of 250 new blue-and-gray uniforms. “We would not be able to purchase these uniforms without the Sturgis Trust getting us to our goal,” Wilson said. “These uniforms are solid, sharp, and will provide a great visual to go along with our awesome sound.”
The new uniforms, purchased from DeMoulin, were ordered recently and are expected to arrive during the Spring 2022 semester. This year’s band boasts 160 members; Wilson said the grant covers enough new uniforms to provide sizes for all members, including accessories and 10 drum major uniforms.
Existing uniforms are 17 years old and insufficient in quantity to meet the needs of the growing band program. The uniforms had surpassed their life-expectancy, and not all members had full uniforms.
“It was time for a change,” said Wilson.
The new Mulerider uniforms maintain a traditional look but have clean lines and colors that will reflect the University’s colors of blue and gold. Accessories include a scoop hat with trim and a plume with gold flake, gauntlets bearing the initials MMB (Mulerider Marching Band), and a short cape off the right shoulder bearing the SAU insignia. Audiences will be able to see different colors on the uniforms depending on whether the players have their instruments up or down.
“These uniforms pop,” said Wilson. “They have tremendous visual appeal, up close and on the field. It is really neat that we were able to pull this off.”
Students are thrilled about the new uniforms. “Many were involved in the design and some of our seniors are sad they won’t be able to wear these uniforms next year,” Wilson said.
He praised the talents of the band, saying audiences will enjoy the cutting-edge look displayed on the field next year.
The Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust of Arkadelphia has been an instrumental partner with SAU through providing previous grants to benefit the nursing and theatre departments. Their generosity has enriched the campus as well as the lives of students.
This grant is part of the university’s Love and Loyalty Campaign, an effort that is in its final month, seeking to raise $22.275 million.