FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bear Band has two new cubs.
Band director John Schneider’s 3-year-old twin boys, Jacob and Benjamin, were named honorary band members for the season after their mother, Danielle Schneider, dressed them up as band members for Halloween and the homecoming parade.
“My boys spend hours upon hours with the band (since their dad is the band director),” she said. “So whenever there is a practice, game, or parade I take the boys to see the people they look up to the most, the band kids. The band kids are the most caring individuals I have ever met.”
She said the band members treat her sons like “true family.”
“They have taught them how to march, play instruments, and make them feel like real band members,” she said. “So for Halloween, I decided it only made sense to make their dreams come true.”
She said she spent more than 26 hours over two weeks on their FSHS band uniform costumes.
“Since I got them done just in time, we allowed them to march in the homecoming parade and play in the stands like the ‘big kids,’” she said. “Not only did my kids have one of the best days of their life, the band members were so excited to have them as part of the group. So for the rest of the season, my boys were named honorary band members by the band members and parents.”
Danielle ordered generic royal blue suits from amazon.com and then made them up to look like the Polar Bear Band uniforms.
“We had to alter them and cut them,” she said. She sewed in ribbon into the uniforms and used fabric spray paint to create the blue to white fade on their uniform sleeves.
She made the “F” logo through an involved process. First, she took a photo of the “F” on the official uniforms and shrunk it down to make it a smaller size for the kids’ uniforms. Then, she removed the background around the font and transferred it onto iron-on transfer paper and cut the logo out and ironed it onto their uniforms.
She also bought fabric and made capes for the kids’ uniforms.
“I can’t believe they turned out as well as they did,” she said, noting the kids’ uniforms matched the band members’ uniforms. She said people on the street thought she had ordered the uniforms from the company that makes the band members’ uniforms.
She said the kids loved the uniforms.
“As soon as they put their uniforms on, they started to march around my house,” she said. She said they picked up their trumpet and saxophone toy instruments and started to play them like the “big kids.”
She said a lot of people thought the kids looked cute and made comments like “look at the little band members.”
She expects her sons to join the band when they’re old enough.
“They’re born and raised around music,” she said. “So, they only know the band.”
She will have the boys dressed in their uniform costumes at the East/West game at the East/West Stadium, where they will likely watch the band play from the track.
“I think it will go it really well,” she said. She said they will be able to go into the stands with the band members after they perform in the first half.
She said they love being in the stands.
“They interact with the other students, and they walk up and down the rows,” she said, noting they also pretend to play when they hear the music.
John Schneider said, “I thought it was kind of cute. I guess I’m a little kind of biased, but I thought they were pretty cute. They got to feel like they were kind of a part of it, I guess. They enjoyed it.”
The band’s field commander, Kate Dillon, 17, said: “the entire band just adores Mr. Schneider’s children.”
“It was fun seeing them in their little band uniforms,” she said. “It was good to bring them along to enjoy the experience as well.”
Eric Hrin can be reached at (304) 367-2549.