2012-09-18 / Front Page

Purdue Band Day Successful With Bands Coming From Across Indiana


Cloverdale Band, Emerald Command, attend Purdue Band Day. (Courtesy photo) Cloverdale Band, Emerald Command, attend Purdue Band Day. (Courtesy photo) Thirty-one high school marching bands from across Indiana helped the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band accomplish its goal of flooding Ross- Ade Stadium with color and musical pageantry on “All-American” Band Day, Sept. 15.

Cougars, Tigers, Zebras, Giants, Thunderbirds, Bearcats, Cavaliers, Trojans filled the stadium as scores of musicians and auxiliary members packed the annual Purdue event.

The 2012 event is the biggest in more than a decade. “Looking out on the field and seeing 2,000 performers was pretty impressive,” says Matt Conaway, Band Day Coordinator and Purdue Band’s newest faculty member.

Pop music with student appeal – “Raise Your Glass” by Pink! and “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga - were performed by the Purdue Band to start the halftime show. The massed bands performed a rousing rendition of the classic TV theme song from “Gunsmoke” under the baton of guest director Keith Rudolph. Rudolph, who recently retired from Penn High School, is a veteran and highly esteemed Indiana director from Mishawaka.

The show also featured the auxiliary units of all the schools in the theme from “Peter Gunn.” It closed with “America On Parade,” combining stirring arrangements of “America” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Each band had already rehearsed those tunes dozens of times before coming to Purdue. Prior to the game, Rudolph brought all the bands together on Purdue’s drill field to finesse the sound at a final rehearsal before entering Ross-Ade Stadium.

Conaway brought his former high school band to Purdue Band Day, and has memories of going with his band, as a high school student, to a Band Day at Eastern Michigan University. “It was my first college football game and I remember it as being a fun experience,” he says.

The experience remains much the same today. “For most of them, this is their first time to be in a strong intercollegiate athletic environment and nothing compares to that,” Conaway says. “The opportunity to stand next to the Purdue Band and to perform with them, not as a warm up act, that’s really special.”

Along with the stadium performances, the Purdue Band also presented “Thrill on the Hill,” a concert and pep rally at 10 a.m. at Slayter Center on Sept. 15, and invited fans to follow them back to the Hovde Hall fountain following the game for its final performance of game day and the traditional drum major breakdown.

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