Colorful band history mural dominates new lounge
Physical changes to accommodate handicapped individuals in the basement of Elliott Hall took away some valuable storage space from Bands, but the process resulted in the creation of a handsome new Student/Faculty/Alumni Lounge.
Highlighting the new lounge, located in a space that’s had lots of uses from the library to Maxine Lefever’s office, is a 15-foot long photo mural boasting more than 300 images that capture the fun and accomplishment students have had with bands on the Purdue campus since 1886.
For decades, the band lounge was a rather low-key room mostly used by members of the band fraternities. That room was usurped in the renovation of the women’s restroom and the addition of a men’s restroom on the lower level. An office and storage area for the Bands Business Office was also carved out of the former lounge. That left a large room right at the bottom on the stairs vacant.
Presented with the opportunity to stuff the old furniture and wall hangings into a battered old room, or to tackle a renovation that would give Bands an attractive space for students to gather, for alumni functions, for recruiting events and staff needs, Director Dr. David Leppla quickly opted for the later.
Gamma Pi alumni chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi along with the active chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma readily agreed to help finance the refurbishing. Significant gifts were also received from Gary Treharne and Charlotte DeVille with additional support from Susanne Adams.
Furbished appropriately in gold and black, the room has a large black Block P in the carpeted flooring, a built in display case for memorabilia, a counter with a microwave and small refrigerator for student and event use, and built-in storage cabinets. There’s new furniture including several study tables and a computer station.
The mural, funded by Gamma Pi, took Kathy Matter, Band PR Director, and Dick Myers-Walls from Purdue Photo Services about a year to put together. Most of the images came out of the Purdue Band archives.
“It would have been impossible, unless we could entirely wrap Elliott Hall with pictures, to historically represent every year, so we decided to mix it up and the result was a captivating photo montage of different eras that highlights the differences as well as the similarities over all those decades,” says Matter.
At the heart of the mural is a large reproduction of the Sudler Trophy, won by the “All-American” Marching Band in 1995. Patches from many of the bowl trips are also woven into the photo tapestry. “It’s the kind of thing you can look at many times and still notice something you hadn’t seen before,” Matter says.
Myers-Walls created the huge montage on the computer. Then it was printed onto vinyl that was applied to the wall like wallpaper. Alumni got their first chance to see the lounge at Homecoming in October.
Dr. Leppla expects, as the Band Alumni Organization gets going, that the room will get more use from alums. The lounge is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and visitors are always welcome to stop by to see the mural and the artifacts.
The new display case contains a tribute to astronaut Neil Armstrong who played baritone in the AAMB under Spotts Emrick, and there’s a portion of an old hide big bass drum head that bears the signature of Indiana astronaut Gus Grissom who was among the first to lose their lives for the space program.
Gamma Pi has made color reproductions of the mural available for purchase. The reproduction is 44 inches wide and 11 ½ inches tall, and can be purchased in a framed or unframed version. There will also be a limited edition of 100 prints individually numbered and signed by Al G. Wright, David Leppla, William Kisinger, Roy Johnson and other Purdue Band dignitaries. Those ordering by Nov. 17 can receive the framed limited edition print by Christmas 2004.For more information, visit the Merchandise page.