The Bethlehem Area School Board put some added strut in Liberty High School's Grenadier Band Monday night by voting 8-0 to spend $139,000 on new uniforms.
The contract for the new uniforms was awarded to London-based Kashket & Partners LTD, the only bidder among the four vendors who were mailed specifications.
Kashket & Partners supplies ceremonial garments to Britain's Ministry of Defence, and Prince William was wearing a military suit made by the 350-year-old company when he of married Catherine Middleton in 2011.
While Liberty's band members won't have the new uniforms in time for the football game against crosstown arch-rival Freedom High School in two weeks, they will be wearing their new threads at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.
The school board decision was greeted with a fanfare of appreciation from Drew Donaher, band president and sergeant major; Richard Bieniek, assistant band sergeant major; Caleb Geinosky, bagpipe major, and Rachel Becker, head majorette.
Bieniek said the new uniforms "will enhance our look as well as our sound" when the Grenadier Band marches in the Rose Parade.
After the meeting, board president Michael Facchiano told WFMZ.com that he thought the price for the uniforms was "reasonable," and that he was happy the board was finally able to allocate the money for them.
Facchiano said normally, the board tries to buy new uniforms for the band every six years, but because of the Great Recession, the Grenadier Band has had to wait eight years.
Kashket & Partners will supply 250 musician's tunics ($87,500) and trousers ($26,500); two drum major tunics ($2,200) and trousers ($300); and 60 bagpipe/majorette's tunics ($22,500), according to the contract.
Schools Supt. Dr. Joseph Roy got a laugh from the board when he related a remark made by a superintendent from central Pennsylvania about the Grenadier Band's performance last Wednesday night during a student showcase at the annual PSBA meeting in Hershey.
"The superintendent said, 'The band is great. I love their costumes,' " Roy said, smiling. "I had to tell him, 'They're not costumes, they're uniforms!"