When I was making my decision to attend Purdue University, I knew that I would have a group of people to make me feel at home, and those are the members of the “All-American” Marching Band. Growing up, I was already familiar with the atmosphere of marching band from my experience marching in high school. My marching band then was modeled after University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's band, so I got a sneak peek at what it would be like to play in a Big Ten college band.
In my freshmen year I knew that I wanted to make a positive impact on my peers within band, so I decided to audition to be a student leader for my fellow “Toobahs.” Being a student leader has been a highlight of my time here at Purdue. My responsibilities as a leader have ranged from teaching technique at band camp to keeping my section organized on game day. It’s given me some of my favorite memories that I will cherish forever.
One specific moment that I will never forget was our first pregame show this year when we preformed the “I Am an American” tradition. This is a portion of our pregame that we have been doing since 1966 while playing “America the Beautiful.” Although we are a band built on traditions, this year we decided to change the song to “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and create a new eagle formation on the field. At first, I was nervous because I know how important these traditions are to so many alumni who were in the audience; but that fear was quickly dismissed as the crowd cheered and chanted “USA” while we marched across the field. The emotion and energy you could feel on the grass during that was so powerful and moving.
Speaking of traditions, one of my favorite events that the band does every year is the Band Day which is accompanied by “Slider Day” for the tubas. Each year, prospective students from all over Indiana got to come to Purdue and perform with our band. It’s a lot of fun to show these kids what it is like to play in our Big Ten band, and I get a chance to meet such wonderful people. Before the day starts for the tuba section, we all gather early in the morning and fill up on White Castle sliders. We have a tradition where the smallest person in the section gets to set the minimum number of sliders each person must eat, and each year it has been me. This has ranged from 5 to 12 sliders, some years totaling over 300 sliders for our section. This tradition brought us to White Castle’s Cravers Hall of Fame, where I was able to network and find an internship as a marketing intern.
These are only a few of the many memories I have made in band and I’m continuously making new ones every day! Through rain, heat, and hard losses the band always manages to get the crowd excited. To be able to bring such an intense Big Ten energy to every sporting event and pep rally we go to brings me so much joy. There are no other people I would rather spend 10 hours rehearsing with each week and over 12 hours with on game day. Boiler Up, Hammer Down! YMSH!