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Colorful montage of high
From iconic TV and movie tunes to classic rock by Chicago, Purdue’s annual “All-American” High School Band Day on Saturday, Sept. 17, samples the wide range of music that Americans love.
Twenty-eight bands from as close as West Lafayette High School, which is two blocks from Ross-Ade Stadium, to far as Cloverdale, Berne and Marion will fill the field with color and pageantry for Purdue’s second home football game.
Jon Sutton, who was singled out as Indiana’s Outstanding Band Director of 1997, will serve as guest conductor for the massed band nearly 2,000 at halftime. He led the Greenwood High School band program from 1982 until his retirement in 2009.
The halftime show opens with Purdue’s “All-American” Marching Band performing a TV theme song that’s thrilled several generations of fans – “Hawaii 5-0.” While the high school bands assemble on the sidelines, the Golduster Dance Team will be featured in “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That.”
Then a flood of color rolls over the field as the high school bands move into position. Musicians will stretch from end zone to end zone for the massed bands’ show that features the movie theme from “Patton,” Chicago’s megahit “25 or 6 to 4” and the theme from “Rocky.”
Each band’s already rehearsed those tunes dozens of times before coming to Purdue on Sept. 17. Prior to the game on Band Day, guest conductor Sutton brings all the bands together for a final rehearsal to finesse the music before entering Ross-Ade Stadium.
Most of the high school bands who attend “All-American” Band Day come from small schools who can’t afford competition band programs. Purdue Asst. Director Max Jones, who taught at Concord High School for many years, says Band Day carries a special significance for them.
“The thrill of being around a college band is very exciting for high school kids,” says the veteran director. Then you factor in performing alongside thousands of other musicians in the center of a packed 69,000-seat Big Ten stadium.
Many of the bands attending don’t participate in competitions so they look forward to the camaraderie that comes with Band Day, Jones says. “You get to see other bands, meet other kids, and be a part of something bigger than yourself. That’s what band is all about.”Along with the stadium concerts, the Purdue band also presents “Thrill on the Hill,” a concert and pep rally at 10 a.m. at Slayter Center on Sept. 17, and invites fans to follow them back to the Engineering Mall fountain following the game for its final performance of game day and the traditional drum major breakdown.
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