More band parents talk about their AAMB
Junior piccolo player Megan
Murphy grew up in a total band family. In the early 1970s, her mom,
Donna Bolte Murphy, was a majorette with the “All-American”
Marching Band, and her dad Bruce Murphy played sousaphone.
In the Q &A below they also share some of their thoughts on the
When Megan and her sister were growing up did they hear a lot
of stories (and what kind of stories) about the Purdue band?
They were always hearing stories about Purdue. They attended many Homecoming
reunion games and watched us both march with the alumni bands. We both
have people we remember from the dorms, etc., but it is our friends
from the band that we stay in touch with to this day. AAMB members stood
as bridesmaids and groomsmen at our wedding and we have each stood with
other AAMB members in their wedding parties. Our daughters have heard
stories about band trips to other campuses, bus stories, run ins into
Elliot, the scum pond, Indy 500 stories, trips to Holland, Japan, Venezuela
and about the types of theme shows we used to perform.
Was it an “understanding” that they would come to
Purdue and join band, or how did that happen?
When Megan (Junior Piccolo) was little our friends would ask her if
she was going to go to Purdue and she always said, “I'm going
to Purdue and I'm going to be in the band.” We always said we
would look into a variety of schools and that just because we always
talked about Purdue, she didn't have to go to Purdue. We made her visit
other schools when the time came to make a selection. When it came time
to apply, the only school she wanted to apply to was Purdue. To be honest
after the visits to the other schools, Purdue was far superior for her
Put your emotions into words and tell us how it feels to be
able to share Ross-Ade field at Homecoming, doing something you love,
with your child.
It is hard to express because I was so proud to have been a part of
the band. I'd come back to play with the alumni band even if we didn't
get to perform on the field, but there is no way to put that feeling
into words. When we first take the field and the crowd roars.........When
Roy Johnson pulls the entire crowd together and we all say it proudly
“I am an American”"........What can I say, your chest
swells, you get a lump in your throat, your eyes water and you go blow
your horn as though 30 years haven't gone by.
We are very proud to have Megan in the band and to be creating some
great memories of her own. Having a daughter in the band makes marching
with the alumni band even more special. To be able to perform with her
will be a special memory we will never forget. An extra special bonus
is we have all marched under Bill Kisinger. Our younger daughter is
a high school junior and she is heart set on being a Duster with the
2005 AAMB. We are already planning for the 3 of us to march with the
2005 alumni band while Amy creates her own AAMB memories.
Do you think having a love of band in common has created a special
bond with your child that might not otherwise be there?
That special bond is there no matter what but being part of the same
organization makes it even more special. We tease about who's band was
better and that we had it tougher with the dreaded “weigh-ins”
for the twirlers and that we never performed in “summer uniforms”
but always the full wool uniforms. It is a part of her college experience
that we have in common. Our friends relate stories about their child’s
college activities but it is second hand as it has described to them.
What part of the alumni performance, or entire homecoming event, do
you particularly look forward to?
We really appreciate that homecoming weekend is so well organized. To
be able to go out on that field one more time and to hear the cheering
crowds just gives me the chills. We have so many friends that come back
to march that we all look forward to seeing each other again. It is
the alumni band that keeps our group together!
What makes you think, when Megan talks about band, that things
really have not changed a lot since your day?
There are so many things-hearing the band cheer (and remembering it),
listening to the stories about the band trips and still seeing Bill's
smiling face as they march down the street. That it isn't about the
marching or the music but rather about putting on the best possible
show. They have better drill sheets today and they don't wear numbers
for practice but they still march in the rain and the mud smelling like
wet dogs and knocking themselves out to make the AAMB "the best
damn band in the land."
Are there things they talk about that make you think things
HAVE changed a lot?
That the size of the band had to be reduced for financial reasons. The
team coming to the join with the band after a win. The fact that they
have wins to celebrate. Having pep bands for more than just men's basketball
In what ways have the things you learned/experienced in band
benefit your real world life after graduation?
Being part of a team. Learning to trust others to do their part. Individual
performance that done well blends in but done poorly spoils the efforts
of all. Learning to follow instructions. The confidence to be willing
to accept responsibility.
Share any other thoughts/emotions that come to your mind as
you answer these questions.
That it must take a lot of time and effort to put on these alumni weekends
and we have never thanked you enough. We loved being in the AAMB and
we love the opportunity to relive those memories.