The Band Cheer

The official band cheer dates back to the 1950’s.  Shouted with enthusiasm on various occasions when the spirit calls, as well as during the post-game concerts, the cheer is composed of words or phrases band generations have added over the years.   The words come from bowl trips, trips to South America, or they represent a person or an attitude in the band during a given year.

The lyrics give the marching band members a link to their past, to the people who marched before them.  The cheer stated when cheerleaders in the stadium shouted “Are we going to beat….” and the students shouted back “Hell yes.”  The band decided to add its own cheer, “Hell yes, damn right, and it went from there with various words added over the years.

“You bet” was an attempt to eliminate swearing.  Instead of replacing those words; however, the phrase was added to the cheer.

“No sweat” is what happens to the band during November games when the woolen uniforms feel just right after a hot September and October.

“Gung ho” is the band’s constant attitude.

“Cha-cha-cha” comes from the 1963 trip to Radio City Music Hall. “Unhh” is also from that trip.

“Samba” is the one word members of the band spoke during the 1963 Radio City Music Hall show.

“Bicycle” comes from the time a male student tried to ride a bike through a band practice.

“Cervesa” Spanish for beer, was added when the head drummer “sold” the drum major for a round of beers during the 1963 South America trip.

“Scooby Dooby Doo” comes from the 1966 Radio City Music Hall trip.  “All that jazz” is also from that trip.

“Roses” represents the 1967 Rose Bowl.

“Yup” serves as a response to the question, “Do we have the best damn band in the land?”

“Bufori” Japanese for crab, comes from the 1970 Japanese World Exposition trip.

“El bano” Spanish for bathroom, references the health problems the band members experienced during a trip to Venezuela in 1972.

“Smax” is a reminder of the time Assistant Director, Maxine (Max) Lefever, was smacked across the face while trying to photograph prostitutes in Amsterdam in 1974.

“Howaya” was the New York greeting from a Radio City Musical Hall trip in 1974

“Peaches” references the Peach Bowl in 1978.

“Reerr” mimics the sound of bagpipes from the 1979 Canadian National Exposition trip.

“Butter” comes from the 1979 Houston Bluebonnet Bowl.

“Ciao” is from the trip to Venezuela in 1972. The chicas always said good-bye using the Italian word” Ciao” in lieu of “Adios.”

“Bush” hails from the 1989 Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.

“Chingay” represents the Singapore Chingay Parade in 1992.

“Sudler” remembers the year 1995, when Purdue received the Sudler Trophy for Excellence in College Marching Bands.

“Alamo” comes from the 1997 Alamo Bowl.

“Fiss” is an acronym for Feria Internacional de San Sebastian where the band performed in 1974.

“Coach” is for Bill Kisinger. The word was added in 2005 when he retired after thirty-seven years with the band. The students called him “coach”

“Jing” references the pre-Olympics trip to Beijing in 2008. Jing is used to represent the city on license plates.

“Snoopy” was added in 2010 when the band led the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Snoopy balloon following right behind them.

“Apollo” 11 was the first spaceflight that landed humans on the Moon.  Former bandsman, Neil Armstrong was on that mission.  After his death in 2012, Apollo was added to honor Neil.

Sláinte” was added in 2013 after the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band visited Ireland. Sláinte means “cheers” or “good health” in Irish.

“Flores” was added in 2015 after the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band visited Medellín, Colombia to march in the Feria de Las Flores Parade (Flower Festival).  Flores is Spanish for flowers.

“Roy” is for Roy Johnson.  The word was added in 2015 when he retired after sixty years of service to our music program.

“Awesome” represents what the band is, always.

Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

• Organized in 1886, a year before Purdue’s football team was formed.
• Members received ROTC drill credit for participating in the band.
• Named the “All-American” Marching Band by a TV broadcaster in response to the first halftime show with lighted uniforms and instruments.
• Noted alumni include Orville Redenbacher (tuba, founder of Orville Redenbacher popcorn), Neil Armstrong (baritone, first man on the moon), and Russell Games Slayter (tuba, inventor of fiberglass).

• 1907 – First band to break military ranks to create a formation of any kind, the Block “P.”
• 1919 – First band to carry the colors of all the Big Ten schools.
• 1919 – First band to become an annual performer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
• 1920 – First band to play opposing school’s fight song.
• 1921 – First band to create an oversized bass drum.
• 1935 – First band to perform a halftime show with lights on their instruments and uniforms.
• 1954 – First band to create nationwide recognition for its featured twirlers.
• 1963 – First college band to have members invited to perform at Radio City Music Hall.
• 1969 – First marching band alumnus to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
• 1995 – First university without a music school to win the Sudler Trophy.
• 2008 – First college marching band invited by Ministry of Culture to perform in China.
• 2010 – First Big Ten band to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Purdue Auxiliaries


• 1939- First majorettes performed in 1939 under the direction of Paul Spotts Emrick.
• 1952- First year the band’s majorettes would wear skirts instead of long uniform pants.
• 1954- First Golden Girl, Juanita Carpenter, takes the football field with the band.
• 1960- First Silver Twins, Karon and Sharon Roeske, takes the football field with the band.
• 1962 – First Girl-in-Black (International Twirler), June Ciampa, takes the football field with the band.

Golduster Dance Team:

• 1980- First dance team added to the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.

Golden Silks Color Guard/Flag Corps :

• 1960s-1970s- First flag corps established
• 1980- First year the Golden Silks Color Guard (as we know them today) was added to the band.

Purdue Jazz Bands

• 1950- First Variety Band evolved, which included jazz and dance numbers.
• 1970- First jazz band broke away from the Variety Band.
• 1980- American Music Reveiw (now American Music Repertory Ensemble) was established.
• 1990- First Purdue Jazz Festival began under the direction of Lissa Fleming May.

Purdue Orchestras

• 1917- First Ukulele Orchestra performs at Fowler Hall under direction of Paul Spotts Emrick.
• 1930- First pit conducted by Emrick for Harlequin shows on campus.
• 1971- First orchestra program starts at Purdue under direction of Dr. Al G. Wright called the Purdue Symphonette.
• 1974- First full orchestra, as we know it today, became the Purdue Symphony Orchestra.
• 2006 – First year the program expanded to include two orchestras.

Purdue Concert Bands

• 1935- First concert band formed, called the Purdue Symphony Band.
• 1941- First formal practice of the Purdue Symphony Band in Elliott Hall of Music, Room 15.
• 2006- First concert band from Purdue (Purdue Wind Ensemble) plays on Carnegie Hall stage.



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