West Lafayette, Evansville natives named Purdue drum majors
Junior Jed Wilkinson, a Harrison High School graduate from West Lafayette who grew up in the shadow of Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium, and junior Ben Boutwell, who comes from Evansville, in the far southern corner of Indiana, will lead the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band as drum majors for the 2004-05 season.
The two were selected during a season-ending competition process held April 30 that included skill demonstrations in conducting, mace twirling and strutting along with personal interviews.
"I like all the pageantry that goes along with being drum major at Purdue. It's one of the most high profile drum major positions in college bands," says Wilkinson, an education major who selected Purdue because of its marching band program.
Boutwell's passion for band followed him from Evansville Reitz High School where he served as drum major for two years with the Marching Tiger Band.
"I loved it during high school, and once I saw what drum major was all about at Purdue, I fell it love with the possibility of being a drum major here," says Boutwell, a junior majoring in electrical engineering technology.
Both Wilkinson, who plays tuba, and Boutwell, a cymbal player, are interested in including more mace twirling in the band's 2004 shows, and will be working this summer to develop some routines.
Stepping out of the ranks and into leadership positions brings its challenges, says Wilkinson, who comes out of a tuba section known for its fun-loving attitude and field antics during football games. "As a drum major you are looked at to be perfect all the time," he says. " You have to separate when to be goofy and when to be serious. Drum major is 95 percent serious."
At Purdue, the drum majors conduct the band in the stands at games, and select the songs and cheers that will keep the stadium rocking. "It'll be a challenge keeping the crowd in the game, especially because the crowd is so diverse with the students on one side of us and John Purdue Club people on the other side," Boutwell says.
The first official appearance for the drum majors will come at the Purdue vs. Syracuse game on Sept. 5 in Ross-Ade Stadium. Fans who want to see the strutting talents of Boutwell and Wilkinson close-up are invited to check out the Drum Major Breakdown, the traditional close to each post-game band show at the Hovde Hall Fountain. Over the years it has become a showcase for talent and energy of Purdue's drum majors.
Joining Boutwell and Wilkinson in student leadership positions in the 2004-05 "All-American" Marching Band are the following individuals. The list also includes those appointed to be heads of various band offices.
Ben Boutwell, Evansville
Jed Wilkinson, West Lafayette
Christy Stallings, Johnston City, IL
Girl in Black
Tierney Brown, Bloomington
Morgan VonDielingen, Seymour
Megan VonDielingen, Seymour
Kristin Bledsoe, Indianapolis - Section Leader
Elizabeth Darrah, Dublin, OH - Assistant
R. J. Nemeth, Loveland, OH - Section Leader
Alicia Stein, Pekin, IL - Assistant
Sarah Gore, Naperville, IL - Rank Leader
Evan Farthing, Alliance, OH - Section Leader
Joseph Kender, Glen Carbon, IL - Assistant
Whitney Richmond, Goshen - Rank Leader
Carly Anderson, Rockford, IL - Section Leader
Christopher McManus, Auburn, WA - Section Leader
Jonathan Shearer, Strongsville, OH - Assistant
Anthony Siegfred, Peru, IN - Rank Leader
Ryan Kazmierczak, Battle Ground - Rank Leader
Jillian Parent, Salem, NH - Rank Leader
James Fairbanks, Stratham, NH - Rank Leader
Jon Rexeisen, Fort Mill, SC - Section Leader
Sarah Exline, Newburgh - Assistant
David Sonnenburg, Osceola - Section Head
Daniel Campbell, Mishawaka - Assistant
Matt Query, Vicennes, Rank Leader
Chris Prendergast, Sioux Falls, SD - Section Leader
Michael Hart, Mahomet, IL - Section Leader
Nick Soboleski, Livonia, MI - Assistant
Hannah Phares, Bettendorf, IA - Section Leader/ Snare Drum Segment Leader
Don Wismer, Roanoke - Tenor Segment Leader
Andy Wiseman, Indianapolis - Bass Segment Leader
Emma Doud , Wabash - Cymbal Section Leader
Ben Stengel, Indianapolis
Amy Duckworth, Indianapolis
Sarah Tyrpak, Brunswick, OH
Megan Mueller, Ottawa, IL
Sarah Tagtmeyer, Fort Wayne
Brianna Bullerdick, New Market
Student Office Heads for 2004-05
Chief of Staff - Emilie Grzywa
Emilie Grzywa, Marseilles, IL - Head
Ben Angelo, Kankakee, IL - Head
Kristen Wilde, Carmel - Head
Records & Recruitment
Jenny Campbell, Mishawaka - Head
Caitlin Tiller, Glenview, IL - Head