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A new use for old band uniforms
Pillows will raise money for Marching Pioneers
1 band uniforms
Retired UWPlatteville Marching Pioneers uniforms will be made into pillows by Deb Eastlick (left) and available from Marching Pioneers director Matthew Gregg for a suggested $50 donation.

A fundraiser will give UW–Platteville Marching Pioneers alumni a chance to purchase the repurposed uniforms in which they sweated, shivered and got soaked at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium and elsewhere.

The uniforms, used by UWP from the early 1990s until 2014, are being made into pillows by Deb Eastlick, owner of Deb’s Fashions to Fit in Platteville.

UW–Platteville associate director of bands Matthew Gregg, the director of the Marching Pioneers, will have the pillows available for a suggested donation of $50 at his office in 162 Doudna Hall. Proceeds will go to the Marching Pioneers. 

About 240 pillows will be made from the available 120 wool blend uniforms, which had a dark blue back, white front and sash, and white “UWP” lettering. Drum line uniforms were black.

“Nostalgia for marching band days is so great that demand is going to outstrip the supply available,” said Gregg. “Marching band uniforms, you either throw them in the dumpster or try to come up with something unique.”

The uniforms, designed by UWP director of bands Barry Ellis, were replaced during the 2014 football season, when the university adopted the Pioneer Pete mascot and pick ax and M logos and the Pioneers’ wordmark. The new uniforms feature royal blue, replacing darker blue uniforms.

“The functional life of usual marching band uniforms is about 20 years, but they were falling apart,” said Gregg. 

The additional problem was that UWP was starting to have more marchers than available uniforms, thanks to growth in the band.

“The band was growing so much that we ran out,” said Gregg. “I recall dressing up the drum line in alternate uniforms. There were administrators asking why the band wasn’t all in one uniform, and I had to tell them we didn’t have enough.”

The Pioneers did not use the old uniforms during the 2014 football playoffs, but those uniforms were part of three Marching Pioneers’ performances at Lambeau Field in Green Bay and one in Soldier Field in Chicago.

Pillows will be made as Eastlick has time available once prom and summer and fall wedding season ends. A shipment will be ready for Homecoming and the band’s traditional Last Blast final performance following the last home game.

“I can only get 24 done at a time,” said Eastlick, who takes about an hour to make a pillow.

For more information, contact Gregg, 342-1019,