Nov. 3 Illinois game features two bands in Beatles show
Purdue football coach Joe Tiller isn’t the only person playing with Xs and Os to get ready for Illinois on Saturday.
Boyd Loughrige, visiting instructor of bands at Purdue, was given the challenge of designing a joint halftime show for Nov. 3 that features the marching bands from both Purdue and Illinois. He’s been putting more than 500 Xs and Os on a diagram of Ross-Ade’s gridiron to prepare for it.
When visiting bands come to Ross-Ade, it’s typical for each band to do their own show, one following the other at halftime. But Illinois holds a special spot in the heart of Acting Director of the “All-American” Marching Band William Kisinger who got both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Illinois. Kisinger’s father was also on the music faculty there for many years.
That connection led to Loughrige getting his special assignment. “Looking at what we’d already done we asked what would be different and this is different,” Loughrige says. “I designed a show that both bands could do combined but practice separately.”
That means nearly 500 musicians will be creating formations from end zone to end zone on Saturday in the Beatles-themed show. During a medley of Beatles hits, the combined bands will spell out the Beatles names – John, Paul, George and Ringo. The first two Beatles names – John and Paul – will be on the field at the same time with Purdue spelling out John and Illinois spelling out Paul.
The next two names present a unique challenge as the name is split right down the middle. Purdue get “Geo” and Illinois gets “rge” in George, and Ringo’s even tricker. The split between bands come in the middle of the “N” with Purdue getting the first two and a half letters, and Illinois the rest.
There’ll be a brief break for the bands as they play “She Loves Me” in a concert formation, leaving the spotlight for the twirlers, flags and Goldusters.
In the spectacular finale to “Hey Jude,” the bands will form a gigantic guitar stretching from end zone to end zone. The Purdue bandsmen will create the body of the guitar, and Illinois bandsmen the neck (check the reproduction of the band chart that accompanies this story). The audience will join in the fun by singing “Na, Na Na Na Na Na Na, Hey Jude!”