Indianapolis 500 Weekend, Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

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Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Marching in the footsteps of 98 years of band students preceding them, members of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will take center stage at the Indianapolis 500 events set to take place this weekend.

For the first time, the band will have performing groups in two locations for the ceremonial music prior to the race on Sunday, May 28. Accompaniment will be provided for two songs this year, with students being positioned in front of the Pagoda for God Bless America and Turn 1 for Back Home Again in Indiana.

Each year Purdue invites bands across the Midwest to participate in a separate parade of bands, which occurs at the racetrack on the day of the race. This year, 10 high school bands from two states will be participating.

It was the marching band’s first director, Paul Spotts Emrick, who forged the initial relationship with the Indianapolis 500 in 1919, and the band has played for the opening ceremonies at the track every running of the 500 since that time.

The public’s first glimpse of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will take place on Saturday, May 27, when the band participates in the IPL 500 Festival Parade themed “Accelerating the American Spirit” which will honor the history and tradition of innovation, patriotism, and pride of the community. The 500 Festival Parade was added to the race month activities in 1957 and the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band has appeared in every parade since its creation. A crowd in excess of 300,000 is expected to be in attendance with another one million watching from their televisions. The Parade will be telecast locally on WTHR, Channel 13 and nationally on NBC Sports Network.


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