RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — There’s a new band director at Plainview High School.

“It’s definitely unusual for a director to change in the middle of the year, but the opportunity presented itself,” said Holly Connell, who started her role as Plainview’s new band director this month. “Of course, I went through an interview process, and it seemed like it would be a good fit for me.”

“These kids are fantastic! I could tell that right away,” she added. “They’re so eager to learn, they’re extremely enthusiastic about everything they do, they’ll help with absolutely anything.”

Connell says one major component of the marching band that needed improvement was their uniforms.  

She said the uniforms at Plainview are 22 years old and overdue for an upgrade.

“Marching band uniforms are designed to last about 10-12 years at a time,” she told News 19. “They really take a beating with, you know, being hot and sweaty… and they get dirty out on the field.”

“My predecessor had already put this in motion,” Connell continued. New uniforms had been designed and I found out after I had accepted the position that they had been ordered and were on their way.”

Last year, 80 new uniforms were ordered — costing roughly $45,000. $37,000 was raised through fundraisers, but the program was still short $8,000. On Friday, January 6, Connell says they received a late Christmas miracle.

“The DeKalb County Board of Education stepped up for us in a big way,” she said. “They offered to fill that extra need so that we could pay the uniform bill.”

News 19 reached out to the Dekalb County Schools to find out the “why” behind their donation. Dr. Brian Thomas, the school system’s Chief of Staff, sent News 19 this statement:

It is our belief that students who are engaged and involved in school activities are more likely to be successful in school.

It is, therefore, the practice of this district to support extracurricular programs.

We are very blessed to have many successful athletic programs, BETA clubs, arts programs, and many others that the district has supported over the years. Supporting the Plainview High School band was another way for us to invest in the lives of students.

The PHS band is welcoming new director Holly Connell this January, and we are excited about her joining the staff at Plainview.

DeKalb County Schools

“This was a great way for the kids to know that they are appreciated for all that they do, the work that they do in supporting the athletic teams, and just the school community,” Connell told News 19.

Connell says the marching band will debut its new uniforms this fall. Looking ahead, the program is working to figure out how they can secure new instruments.