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For the first time in 18 years, UND marching band will have new uniforms

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Grand Forks, N.D. - New places to play and new uniforms to play in.

Big changes are coming to the University of North Dakota's marching band.

But the reason behind the changes are rather bittersweet.

Recent cuts to the UND athletic department means fewer places for the band to play.

But with more time in their schedule, the band will now have the opportunity to support different teams.

They'll also be doing so while sporting a new look.

For a school and a program steeped in tradition, there is one thing that needs to change.

UND Marching Band Director Rob Brooks says "Those old uniforms served us well! We've seen countless miles and countless performances in those. I did a quick tally and there is probably over 10 million people who have seen us in those uniforms alone."

After 18 years in the same uniforms, the old look of the 'Pride of the North' marching band had turned into somewhat of a family affair.

"One of the first members of the band to wear the uniforms 18 years ago; we now have her child who is a part of the band and wore the same uniform last year. So we now have a second generation wearing the same uniform," said Janice Hoffarth of the UND Music Department. 

But this year, the Pride of the North will be wearing brand new uniforms.

The music department raised 88 thousand dollars in donations to pay for the new outfits, which are black instead of green, so that the musicians will stand out more when performing on the green football field.

UND Football Coach Bubba Schweigert says "We really appreciate them and getting those new uniforms and getting a lot of people to help drive that project. And we are really happy for those band members to get to put on new duds for the first time in almost 20 years."

But it's not just the Alerus Center where the band will be performing.

With the women's hockey program being cut, you can now catch the band pumping up the crowd at volleyball games for the first time ever.

Elijah Gray, Drum Major with the UND Marching Band, said “I have never played in the Betty before, and I look forward to seeing where that experience can take us. So I'm really excited for everything we can bring to those games as well."

While the football team is going through an effort to enhance the gameday experience, head coach Bubba Schweigert thinks the band's new uniforms will help that cause.

"It helps in attracting more people to the games, it helps in recruiting when we have the support we have. We have passionate fans and we just want more to join in on this passion and we hope people feel like they won't want to miss out on this atmosphere," says Schweigert.

The band will debut their new uniforms on September 6th, when the women's volleyball team takes on North Dakota State at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

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