BandLife Offers Free T’s to the High School Class of 2020

Free shirt from Band Life for seniors.
With schools closed early due to the coronavirus, 2020 seniors are missing out on a lot of milestones, including final competitions and concerts for performers. But one company hopes to turn their frowns upside down with free T-shirts commemorating their musical arts achievements and graduation year.

BandLife is bringing some joy to the class of 2020 as many graduation ceremonies are cancelled due to COVID-19 quarantines and social distancing. A two-person business, BandLife has decided to give away as many “Class of 2020” T-shirts as they can to graduating high school seniors involved in band, color guard, drumline, and orchestra.

Specializing in media production for high school music-related festivals and competitions, BandLife had produced T-shirts with “Class of 2020” printed on the sleeve to sell along with event DVDs. However, the recent pandemic put all events on hold. “We had all this inventory, and we were like, ‘We should give this away,’” says Troy Melquist, production manager for BandLife.

After reaching out to email subscribers about the free T-shirts, Melquist ran into a problem—shipping costs. Because BandLife normally sells DVDs and T-shirts in person, the small business is not set up for high-volume cost-efficient shipping.

To cover these costs, BandLife’s sales and marketing manager Deborah Lorenz set up a GoFundMe fundraiser that started on April 6. Though the shirts still have a shipping fee on the website, Lorenz hopes that the campaign can raise enough money to waive that fee in the future.“I know donations out there for food drives are important, but if it’s something that you care about, and you can give a tiny bit, we’ll try to make a senior’s day a little better, our small part to kids missing out on stuff,” Melquist says.

Though BandLife began with 500 “Class of 2020” T-shirts in its inventory, Melquist says that the company plans to give away as many as requested, even beyond the original quantity.

To receive a free T-shirt, high school seniors can visit to choose between four shirts reading, “BandLife,” “GuardLife,” “DrumLife,” and “StringLife,” each with “Class of 2020” on the sleeve.

To contribute to the GoFundMe to help BandLife give away even more T-shirts, donors can visit

About author

Savy Leiser

Savy Leiser is a Chicago-based author, journalist, and freelance editor. In addition to writing for Halftime Magazine, she is the author of the “Furever Home Friends” children’s book series. Savy graduated in 2015 from Northwestern University, where she was a member of the Wildcat Marching Band. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University.

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