Jay Gephart to Step Down as “All-American” Marching Band Director

Jay Gephart, the Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands & Orchestras, has announced that the Fall 2024 semester will be his last as the 5th Director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band. He will step down from the marching band position following the band’s final performance in 2024.  Professor Gephart will continue to chair the Bands and Orchestras department, direct the Purdue University Wind Ensemble, and conduct other indoor ensembles.

Professor Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after completing 12 years as a public school band director. In July 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, and in 2009, he was promoted to Full Professor. In November 2006, Professor Gephart was appointed Director of University Bands and currently serves as the Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands and Orchestras. He is the 5th director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and conducts the Purdue University Wind Ensemble. From 1995 to 2006, Professor Gephart served as the music director for the Purdue Symphony Orchestra. He is the current Artistic Director for the Kokomo, Indiana Park Band and the Music Director of the Indiana Wind Symphony.

The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band is the flagship ensemble for Purdue Bands and Orchestras and has traveled worldwide. Under Professor Gephart’s leadership, the “All-American” Marching Band performed in Beijing, China in 2008, La Feria de las Flores in Medellin, Colombia in 2015, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland in 2013, 2018, and 2023. They also became the first B1G Ten Marching Band to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 2010.  The “All-American” Marching Band has also performed at numerous bowl games throughout Professor Gephart’s tenure at Purdue, including appearances in the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl, 2007 Motor City Bowl, 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, 2012 Heart of Dallas Bowl, 2017 Foster Farms Bowl, 2018 and 2021 Music City Bowl, and 2022 Citrus Bowl.

Professor Gephart continued to promote the rich traditions of the “All-American” Marching Band throughout his tenure as Director while creating some of his own. He brought the Big Ten Flags back to the field, made the new “Miss Boilerette” Solo Twirling position, and added the “Boiler Up” and “World’s Largest Drum” formations to the band’s Pregame Show. In 2019, the AAMB celebrated its’ 100th anniversary as the official band of the Indianapolis 500 and, in 2021, celebrated the “World’s Largest Bass Drum’s” 100th anniversary at Homecoming.

Jay Gephart conducts the AAMB at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Jay Gephart leads the band during a gameday parade around campus.
Jay Gephart conducts the AAMB at Northwestern University.
Jay Gephart conducts the AAMB in a rehearsal at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Jay Gephart with Doug Fletcher and Max Jones on a gameday in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Professor Gephart has served as a guest conductor, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator nationally and internationally, having conducted All-State Bands in New Jersey, Indiana, New York, Virginia, Colorado (2 times), Arkansas, and Kentucky.  He has served as guest conductor of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, the United States Air Force Concert Band, and the U.S. Army Field Band. Professor Gephart has also guest-conducted the University of Iowa Wind Symphony, the Texas Christian University Wind Ensemble, and the Virginia Commonwealth Wind Ensemble.  He has been a clinician at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, the American Band College, and at numerous conferences and in-service workshops. In 1997, he was selected to conduct the music camp honor band for the Department of Education in the Northern Region of Queensland, Australia. He has coordinated mass band halftime shows for three bowl games, including the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, and the Camping World Bowl in Orlando.

In 2008, Professor Gephart was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association (ABA). He served on the ABA Board of Directors from 2012-2024 and was elected Vice President in March 2018. Professor Gephart then served as ABA President-Elect, President, Chairman of the Board, and Chair of the Nominating Committee. From 2010-12, he served as President of the Big Ten Band Director’s Association and currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. He also served many years on the NBA Revelli Composition Contest selection committee. In 2012, he was elected to the board of the National Band Association, serving as the Collegiate Representative. In 2018, he was named Collegiate Educator of the Year by the Indiana Music Educators Association.