Sun Bowl is fifth consecutive bowl trip for marching bandAlums, fans invited to open practice on Dec. 30
For a record setting fifth year in a row, the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band is bowl bound. This time it’s the Dec. 31 Wells Fargo Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas!
“It's exciting to think all of this happened while I was attending Purdue. This will go down in history and it's fun to think that I was a part of it,” says Golduster Ashley Highsmith, a senior from Crown Point.
Leading a parade of Purdue fans south for the Boilermakers encounter with Washington State, the band takes off on Thursday, Dec. 27, for a five-day trip to the sunny south Texas. “This is going to be a great trip. The band is going to have the time of its life,” says William D. Kisinger, acting director of the marching band.
Band members are looking forward to seeing Texas’ legendary open spaces and the Rio Grande River as well as experiencing the Tex-Mex food, line dancing and hospitality that makes Texas famous. With bowls, “we get to travel to some wonderful places, play in awesome venues and eat delicious food,” says Nick Peters, a senior clarinetist from Indianapolis enjoying his fourth bowl trip.
But band members never lose sight of their No. 1 priority – backing the Boilermakers. “We are responsible for getting the fans excited about Boilermaker football. We must always be cheering, dancing, and playing our music with extreme enthusiasm. The reward is hearing the fans get into it whether it is a pregame concert, a pep rally, or our performance on the field during the bowl game,” says Matt Fisher, a senior percussionist from Fishers.
The band’s first public performance will occur just prior to the Team Luncheon at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center on Friday, Dec. 28. The free performance begins at 10:30 a.m.
Following an afternoon devoted to rehearsal, band members will take in sunset over the mountains at Indian Cliffs Ranch and enjoy all the Texas attraction’s offerings from hayrack rides to a steak dinner at the famed Cattleman’s Steakhouse.
On Saturday, Dec. 29, rehearsal for the bowl show is again the top priority but the band will make a major souvenir shopping stop. That evening there’s an outing to Graham Central Station with its five dance venues ranging from country-western to rock.
Monday, Dec 30, promises to be a busy day filled with activities dedicated to raising fans spirits for the big game. An open rehearsal with both the Purdue and Washington State bands is being planned at 1 p.m. at Montwood High School (alums please come!) as well as a Purdue fan pep rally at 3 p.m. at UTEP’s Baltimore Field. At 4:30 p.m. Wells Fargo Fan Fiesta begins at the UTEP Swimming and Fitness Center. Both the Purdue and Washington State bands will be given a half hour to show off their playing abilities.
Admission to the Fiesta is free, and it also features interactive games and a fireworks finale at 8:30 p.m. Following the Fiesta, the band will be treated to an authentic Mexican dinner at the 400-year-old La Hacienda Restaurant which includes music by a mariachi band
On Dec. 31, the band will play for various alumni functions before the football game. Purdue’s pregame show is set for 11:50 a.m. Beyond traditions like “I Am An American” it will include a special request by Arnette Tiller, wife of Purdue football coach Joe Tiller, to perform “God Bless the USA.” Kickoff is 12:15 p.m. and the band’s halftime show features “Tower of Power” funk tunes. Both the team and the band will fly home immediately following the game, and arrive in West Lafayette in time to say “Happy New Year!”