'All-American' Band takes Purdue pride to Ireland, March 10-18
Black and gold goes green this March when the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band visits Ireland to participate in Dublin's famous St. Patrick's Day Parade.
And for the very first time, the 91-year-old Big Bass Drum will travel abroad. Even though the marching band has made appearances in far-flung locations from China and Japan to Venezuela and The Netherlands, the drum has never accompanied the band because of the challenging logistics of its size and weight.
The travel party of one drum, 300 band members and more than 200 family members and band boosters leave Indiana on March 10 for a week of sight-seeing in the Emerald Isle. The trip, which climaxes with the band's march through Dublin in the March 17 St. Patrick's Day Parade, coincides with Purdue's Spring Break.
After the band was picked to lead the Macy's Parade in 2010, an invitation to Dublin was inevitable, says Jay Gephart, Director of "All-American" Band.
He's excited because the band will be the last element in the annual parade and will punctuate Ireland's most famous day.
"Once again, the Purdue 'All-American' Marching Band finds itself in a place of honor in one of the world's great parades. What a wonderful opportunity we have to represent Purdue, our state and nation in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. To serve as the exclamation mark in one of the most entertaining events in the world is more than an honor. We are very humbled."
To kick off the trip, the public is invited to a celebration at Nine Irish Brothers on March 3. Both the West Lafayette and Lafayette locations of the restaurant will donate 10 percent of their proceeds that day to Purdue Bands & Orchestra's travel fund. There will be Irish music and giveaways. The Big Bass Drum will make an appearance at each location as will Purdue's twirlers led by Golden Girl and Miss Indiana MerrieBeth Cox.
The trip itinerary allows students to experience a wide swath of Irish culture:
SUNDAY, March 10: Students depart from Indianapolis on charter flight. Adults bus to Chicago for commercial flight.
MONDAY, March 11: Arrival at Shannon, travel to Galway. Panoramic city tour and free time there. Overnight in County Clare.
TUESDAY, March 12: Cliffs of Mohr, Burren National Park, Bunratty Castle with medieval banquet.
WEDNESDAY, March 13: Travel to Killarney via picturesque village of Adare and the Ring of Kerry. Overnight in Cork.
THURSDAY, March 14: Tour of Cork, Blarney Castle, Blarney Woolen Mills and free time. Overnight in Cork.
FRIDAY, March 15: Visit Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny, Kilkenny Castle. Travel to Dublin for overnight.
SATURDAY, March 16: Dublin city tour, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Guinnes Storehouse. Dinner at Taylors Three Rock.
SUNDAY, March 17: St. Patrick's Day Parade. Student charter leaves after parade. Adults on commercial flight leave Monday.
To see pictures of the trip as it progresses, friend Purdue Bands & Orchestras on Facebook.