Looking forward to “World’s Largest Block P” at Homecoming
Updates for alumni coming to campus this weekend
Monday, October 22, 2007
Record-setting numbers of band alumni are expected to return for Purdue’s Homecoming Oct. 27 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the “Block P.” Together, the alumni and the “All-American Marching Band will form the “World’s Largest Block P” on the Ross-Ade gridiron at halftime of the Northwestern game.
Director of Bands Jay Gephart says the 500 signed up marks one of the largest turn-outs ever for Alumni Band which is held every two years. More than 50 of those returning are alums from the Paul Spotts Emrick and early Al Wright eras.
Just a few things to remember for returning alums:
* If you have not signed up, we are still accepting latecomers for all events. Call Pat Newton in the main office (765) 494-0770.
* Friday registration will be in the Band Hospitality Tent between Elliott and the old Memorial Gym. Alums can hang out there and visit; merchandise will be sold. No admission to Elliott due to Dali Lama speech.
* Traffic will be tight all weekend. We expect 300 for the Friday barbecue. You will be arriving just as Purdue employees and the crowds attending the Dali Lama speech in Elliott are leaving. Allow time to find a parking spot.
* Schedules will be tight all weekend. To make all the fun happen we have to stay on schedule. Check the UPDATED weekend schedule linked to this story.
In case your history on the Block P” is rusty, it was Spotts Emrick who, inspired by the autumn sight of Canada geese flying in formation, came up with the idea to outline a letter – a P - with individual bandsmen and executed it in 1907. Marching band history records it as the first time a marching band broke ranks to create a formation of any kind on a football field.
Since then, thousands upon thousands of Purdue bandsmen including the baritone-playing astronaut Neil Armstrong – who will also be honored at Homecoming – have been part of the “Block P.”
During those past 100 years, the “Block P” has sported different looks – some of which will be showcased at a special Homecoming halftime show – and has accommodated varying numbers of marchers. But the tradition of creating the “P” before kickoff at every home Purdue football game, and many away games, has never changed.
Today marching bands across the United States break ranks again and again and again to create all sorts of unique formations on football fields. But it all started with Purdue and Emrick.
For Homecoming 2007, alumni will form their own band for the first time to march in Friday night’s Homecoming parade and many will likely light their instruments following another tradition passed down through generations of band members. The “All-American” Marching Band will also participate in the parade which steps off at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.
Homecoming band activities also include a Friday night barbecue in a tent outside Elliott Hall of Music and a Saturday morning breakfast there for the Spotts era alums and other non-marching alums. Marching alumni, along with the “All-American” Band will be polishing their halftime show at the band practice field on Third Street across from Shreve Hall.
The “All-American” Band will perform on a stage near the Civil Engineering Building at 10:50 a.m. Saturday and fans are encouraged to follow the band into Ross-Ade Stadium for the game and accompanying festivities.
Events Schedule (Updated Oct. 22)
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