New bit of history added to Purdue band cheer
In the 41 words that make up the band cheer, beginning with "Hell, yes" and ending with "awesome," and you'll find a microcosm of Purdue "All-American" Marching Band history.
Every word in the odd string of verbage represents a specific memory. It takes a vote by the band itself to add a new word and that doesn't happen often. On Saturday, Nov. 12, at the band's Slayter Center concert, its retiring assistant director Bill Kisinger found out he was being included in the cheer.
The last time a word was added was " Alamo " in 1997 in honor of the first Tiller era bowl win.
Starting with Saturday, the cheer now includes the word "coach," the nickname the students use for the popular director. Kisinger has worked with the marching band for 37 years. The length of his tenure is second only to the band's legendary first director Paul Spotts Emrick who was on staff for almost 50 years.
There's great bits of Purdue student history in the cheer, especially in the "Hell Yes" and "Dam Right" that open the cheer which is executed on game days and other special occasions. Each word or phrase represents a unique experience that's special to the band. Some words were added because of hilarious or memorable moments. Some to honor happenings or people, like "coach" being added for Kisinger.
Here's some interesting tidbits about the cheer:
- The chant's history dates back to the late 1950s when Fredrick Hovde was president of Purdue University . At that time, it was a tradition for students at football games to respond "Hell, yes" when cheerleaders asked them if Purdue was going to win. In a letter to the Exponent , Hovde expressed his opinion that the profanity was out of place, but it fell on deaf ears. Students not only continued the cheer; they added, "Damn, Right!" to it. The fervor of the situation, and its two key phrases, initiated the long chant that is one of the most colorful parts of band lore.
- Sampling some of the phrases: "Cha-cha-cha" refers to the band's 1963 performance at Radio City Music Hall , and a Latin number in a mock USO show that was part of that particular Radio City program. "Bicycle" refers to an incident during the Al Wright days when a student on a bicycle tried to cut through the band while it was marching on campus and got clobbered by maneuvering bandsmen. "SMAX" combines smack and Maxine, and dates to a 1974 trip to Holland where a tour of Amsterdam included its infamous red light district. When the band's assistant director Maxine Lefever attempted to take a picture of one of the women, she grabbed Maxine's camera and slapped her across the face. The incident produced "SMAX." "Cervesa," the Spanish word for beer, was the choice to represent a performing trip to Venezuela . "Butter" refers to a trip to the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl. "Sudler" refers to the prestigious trophy the band won in 1995 as one of nation's premier college marching bands.
- This long chant is required learning for new members of the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band and each word refers to specific bits of band history and lore. It is painted on long boards in the band's indoor rehearsal hall in the basement of Elliott Hall of Music.
- By tradition, the drum majors start the chant by shouting "Hey, Band," a signal that initiates a long sequence of events. Tradition dictates the way the chant is performed, and it has not changed since the 1950s. You can hear it as part of pregame ritual at Purdue, after Boilermaker victories and on other special occasions.
HELL YES, DAMN RIGHT , YOU BET, NO SWEAT, GUNG HO, CHA-CHA-CHA, UNHH, SAMBA, BICYCLE, CERVESA, SCOBBY DOOBY DOO, AND ALL THAT JAZZ, ROSES, YUP, BUFORI, EL BANO, SMAX, HOWAYA, PEACHES, REERR, BUTTER, CIAO, BUSH, CHINGAY, SUDLER, ALAMO, FISS, COACH, AWESOME!