Feb. 5, 2004

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Contact: Vickie Hamilton-Smith, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-9742.

'Feather the Flock' fund-raiser launched for KU Marching Jayhawks uniforms

LAWRENCE -- A "Feather the Flock" initiative has been launched to raise $150,000 by March 1 for new Marching Jayhawk uniforms at the University of Kansas. The KU School of Fine Arts, KU Endowment Association, KU Athletics and the Lawrence Journal-World are partners in the fund-raising effort.

New uniforms are needed because the existing gear, in use since 1978, is old and worn. Some outfits are held together with duct tape, while others are combined to create whole uniforms.

The March 1 deadline was set to ensure the group will have new uniforms ordered and ready for the 2004 football season. Efforts to collect $150,000 to purchase 300 new uniforms began in late 2003 when the Topeka Jayhawks Club, working with KU Athletics, sent patrons letters requesting support for the drive. The initiative, coupled with an early December newspaper article about the endeavor, netted approximately $33,000 toward the overall goal. In early February, the total amount collected neared $60,000.

In January, leaders from the Lawrence Journal-World and KU outlined a push to encourage the community, patrons and alumni to join the effort and reach the March deadline.

The cost per uniform is $467. This provides for the jacket and pants, shako (hat), plume, a light raincoat and a heavy raincoat.

The drive for new uniforms is one link in a plan to strengthen the Marching Jayhawks. Uniforms are viewed as an immediate need, while ongoing funding to provide band member stipends is a long-term goal.

Stipends are needed to help defray the costs students incur when participating in the marching band. These costs include uniform fees and dry cleaning, as well as the purchase of shoes, gloves, band jackets and equipment. The average cost to participate in the Marching Jayhawks is $195.50 per student.

The KU Marching Jayhawks has approximately 160 members and cannot grow to more than 180 due to the unusable condition of some uniform pieces. The call for 300 new uniforms is consistent with efforts to continue increasing the band's membership. New leadership and recruitment efforts have already caused numbers to rise.

For more information on the "Feather the Flock: Outfit the Marching Jayhawks" fund drive, please visit www.kusports.com/feathertheflock, which also has postings of historic and other KU band information, as well as an online donation site. Contributions to "Feather the Flock" also may be forwarded to the KU Endowment Association, Attn: Anne Johnson, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928; checks should be addressed to KUEA, with "Feather the Flock" indicated in the memo section.

The KU School of Fine Arts is the parent organization for three academic units -- the departments of art, design, and music and dance -- as well as the Lied Center of Kansas.

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