For the love of music and community service, the UNM Spirit Marching Band performs at about 100 university, community and athletic events each year. All those oompahs, booms and toots create a lot of wear and tear on instruments past their prime.

The Spirit Marching Band launched a Text-to-Give campaign to raise $400,000 for instruments and equipment. Anyone can donate $10 by sending a text message of "Lobos" to 50555. The number will be announced at football games.

Chad Simons, associate director of bands and director of the Spirit Marching Band, said the sousaphones – a type of tuba for marching – are "literally falling apart." Most students are supplying their own instruments, he said.

In addition to the need to replace crumbling equipment, new instruments are needed to accommodate the band's unprecedented growth. The Spirit Marching Band nearly tripled in size – from 75 to 215 members – in the last five years.

Band members have played a big part in that growth. A leadership team of about 25 students makes phone calls, sends letters and visits high schools nationwide to recruit budding musicians.

Though music education students participate in the band to satisfy a requirement for the major, most players are major in other fields, representing a broad cross-section of the university. The current largest group is biology majors.

For more information, search for "Spirit Marching Band" on Facebook or visit For other ways to give, contact Alicia Marcell, assistant director of development at or (505) 277-5833.