• Organized in 1886, a year before Purdue’s first Football Team
• 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 part of the Indy 500 race
• 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

The Friday before every home football game, the band rehearses in matching t-shirts and baseball caps, as a sneak peek of the Saturday performance.
Since being the first band to break military ranks to form a picture on the field, the Block “P” has been a staple of band routines. The Block “P” has been formed around the world by band members, including on top of Mount Fuji, at the Grand Canyon, on the Great Wall of China and underwater in Hawaii.
While the band has been spelling Purdue on the field for many years, Director Al G. Wright was the first to put it in motion in the 1960’s.
During the pregame performance, this eloquent expression of patriotism is recited as the 30-yard United States and Indiana State flags are rolled out on the field.
Every time the Boilermakers score during the game, the Big Bass Drum Crew does a push-up in the end zone for every point scored.
After the band marches from Ross-Ade Stadium, members stop midway to Slayter Hill in a dramatic depiction of their aching muscles and bones while the tuba section plays alone. At the end, they sing, “Well, maybe just one more time…” and finish their day with a concert at Slayter Hill.
Band members are released from duty after the postgame concert at Slayter Hill. The drum majors continuously high step as they individually release all of the sections. At the end, the drumline plays as the drum majors continue to high step with their maces in their teeth as the rhythm races faster with each step. The Big Bass Drum closes the event by running at full speed and stopping just inches from the director.

Download the “All-American” Marching Band guide.


Purdue Bands & Orchestras, 1091 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906, (765) 494-0770

© 2023 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Purdue Bands & Orchestras

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue Bands & Orchestras at bandsinfo@purdue.edu.