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Macy’s parade tops busy fall
season for AAMB
A winning football season and a bowl trip – both real possibilities for the Boilermakers in 2010 – would be icing on the cake for the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band as it prepares for its appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 25 in New York City.
One of the world’s most beloved parade’s, the Macy’s Parade showcases the best bands in the United States and Purdue is the first Big Ten band chosen to march in it.
“We are absolutely ecstatic to be chosen to perform in the Macy’s Parade and honored to represent Purdue, the state of Indiana and the Big Ten Conference in this star-studded event,” says Jay Gephart, Director of Bands. “The performance will kick off the 125th Anniversary celebration of Purdue Bands and to me personally, having my band perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a dream come true!”
With six home football games, and performances at Notre Dame and Illinois, taking place before the New York trip, excitement will build as the season moves along. Gephart says 2010 halftimes will continue to showcase a wide diversity of music – from current pop phenom Lady Gaga to 1970s rock favorite Kiss, from John Philip Sousa to Lee Greenwood and from American Idol to Broadway’s “Hair.”
There’ll be a few surprises as well, especially in the “Drumline Live” show on Nov. 6 that’s inspired by the spirit and the antics of black college marching bands. At Homecoming 2010, on Oct. 16, the “All-American” Marching Band will salute the memory of its original Golden Girl Juanita Carpenter who passed away in December 2009. Her family will share a special moment on the field with current Golden Girl MerrieBeth Cox.
In 2011, Purdue will celebrate 125 years of instrumental music on campus. Even though its program offers no degrees, Purdue ensembles continue to grow and excel. Success, Gephart says, comes from “making music accessible to all students. Ours is not a closed door department.” Nearly 70 percent of band and orchestra students major in engineering, science and technology.
From one band with 13 members in 1886, music students now number 830 participating in jazz bands, orchestras, concert bands and chamber music. “But the ‘All-American’ Marching Band is still our flagship ensemble and a source of pride,” says Gephart. “We wouldn’t think about kicking off any celebration without the marching band since they were the first band on campus – and what better way to do it than to go to the Macy’s Parade.”
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