Most people never think about how a band gets to a bowl game. Sousaphones, drums, uniforms, the world famous Big Bass Drum, it all just magically comes together.
At Purdue Bands, we know the person behind the magic is Dave Martin, a 1983 Computer Science major and marching band alum, who's driven the paraphernalia that makes a band a band to five straight bowl games. Martin was honored last fall with the Alumni Achievement Award for his efforts.
Driving is in his blood. His father started Martin Moving and Storage - which has ties to Wheaton Van Lines - and since 1989 Dave has operated the business as general manager. It was also his dad, and mom, who got him into music through an unusual set of circumstances.
"My parents always thought music was important," Martin says, which prompted them to respond positively to a telemarketer selling accordions and offering free lessons. "So I got drug to free accordion lessons. But it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds."
Although Martin enjoyed the accordion, he gave it up for alto sax so he could be in marching band in high school. He didn't miss a beat at Purdue, joining AAMB as a freshman. Memories from those days revolve around "the people more than anything else. I made so many friends in band, so many great people. I think anyone's a nut who doesn't become a band fanatic because they're the ones missing out."
Martin loves to reminisce about "all the crazy things Bill Moffit had us do." Filled with sound and technical challenges, Moffit's "radioactive" halftime show required marchers to conceal transistor radios in their jackets, he recalls. At the appropriate time they whipped the radios out and turned up the volume on WBAA playing a recording of the band. Band members then executed choreography while holding up their blaring radios to be "radioactive."
Considering the Martin family business revolves around moving, it's not surprising that Dave was active in Operations throughout his band days and served as office head. His initial exposure to bowl travel with the Purdue band would have turned off someone without Martin's background. In 1984, he was asked to come back and drive a U-Haul truck filled with band gear to the Peach Bowl. "When the truck wouldn't start on the day we were to take off, I should have known it wasn't going to be a good trip," he recalls. Before they got to Chattanooga, the truck has broken down three times, necessitating a new water pump, a new fuel pump and eventually a whole new truck.
None of the horror stories associated with that trip have plagued Martin on his trips to San Antonio (his favorite bowl city), Tampa, Pasadena or El Paso. His wife Deb (also a marcher and Ops volunteer) maneuvers their family of three girls and two boys through the holidays to give Martin the chance to help the band out a bowl games.
Driving "is my way of giving back to the university. This way I can make a return on what the University has given me."
Dave and Deb Martin continue to use music to satisfy their creative urges and make friends by playing with the Michiana Concert Band, a group that gives regular concerts in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.