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Professor Emerita Maxine Lefever, a legendary figure in percussion at Purdue Bands, joined the staff 1962 and was named a Professor Emerita following her retirement in 1987. She died on June 20, 2004.
Following seven years of public school teaching in Illinois and Colorado, Lefever came to Purdue University as a teaching assistant in 1962. She took over percussion instruction, a responsibility she would hold until her retirement. In 1966, she also took over the administration and operation of the Purdue Summer Music and Twirling Camps, two of the largest camps of their type in the state. Lefever helped organize and traveled extensively on national and international tours with the Purdue Bands, and served Dr. Al G. Wright as an administrative assistant.
She dedicated her life to the Purdue Bands until her retirement in 1987, after which she continued to be one of the band’s most rabid fans and most dedicated supporters. Lefever remains one of Purdue Band’s most significant donors, establishing endowments for percussion activities as well as a special student award for outstanding percussionists. In 2003, her donations were recognized by Pres. Jischke when he presented her with the university’s prestigious Pinnacle Award.
At the time of her death, she served as President of American Bands Abroad, Inc. Since 1971, she had sponsored student band travel through her American Musical Ambassadors ensembles, and taken than 6,000 students to Europe. Lefever held honorary memberships in many organizations and was listed in the “Who’s Who In America” and the “International Who’s Who in Music.”
On a lighter note, Lefever’s antics caused her to be included in the Marching Band Cheer. Band alum Rod Ray describes the incident that led to “SMAX” being added to the cheer.
“One of my funniest memories (although maybe not at the time for Maxine!) was during the band’s 1974 Europe trip to the World Music Festival in Holland. I was one of the few in a group touring Amsterdam with Maxine when she attempted to take a picture of a couple of the well-known ‘attractions.’ Needless to say you shouldn’t attempt to photograph ‘the girls in the window’ and before we knew it one of ‘the girls’ raced out from the window, grabbed Maxine’s camera to rip the film out and hit Maxine in the face. Hence, from Smack Max, the addition of SMAX to the band cheer!”
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