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The Importance of Uniforms | Print |
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Written by Paul Case   
Friday, 08 July 2011 14:09

Many of you have heard me say, “Uniforms are not just articles of clothing.” Some have asked why I care so much about uniforms. Here is why I care about uniforms, and why you should, too.

I have been around uniforms most of my life. When I started Jr. High band, we had uniforms. We had them in Sr. High band. I wore a uniform in college. Same thing when I marched with a bugle corps. And in the military. Why are uniforms so important?

There are three answers to that question. Uniforms are important because:

1. They give you confidence and a positive self-image

2. They provide a positive impression of you and your organization

3. They stand for something bigger than you

Did you know that many professional people who work from home would dress up as though they were going to an office somewhere else? Shirt, tie, shined shoes – the whole works. If you were to ask them, they would tell you that how you act or how you feel about yourself starts with how you look. If they dress professionally, even though only the dog is around, they look sharp and feel sharp. They are more productive. They sound more professional on the phone. It gives them confidence. Experts call it “dressing for success.”

If you have ever been to Band & Orchestra Festival, you have seen the middle school band who wears white shirts (or, mostly white), and black pants, slacks or skirts. You know the ones I refer to . . . they are mostly unkempt, and no one really comes close to matching his or her neighbor. What was your impression of that group when they walked on stage – before they ever played a note? Have you ever seen a marching band pass by, each uniform identical to the next, band members perfectly in step with straight files and rows? What was your impression of them, before they ever played a note?

The military uniform carries with it all kinds of symbolism. All uniforms have some historical elements to them. They identify the service member to varying degrees. To people in the armed forces, the uniform is much more than just clothing that matches everyone else. It is a symbol of their country, which they are proud to serve.

In the early days of HSMA, we did not have uniforms. We would wear black and white. For a while, that was fine. However, Mr. O’Donnell and Mrs. Simpson both realized that an important element to the continuing improvement in our ensembles was uniforms. HSMA needed some espirit. Uniforms were the way to get it.

By the time we we started interacting with other organizations, we had uniforms. Every year, we get comments on how great our groups look and sound. They look confident. They sound confident. The two go hand-in-hand.