New “Voice” Determined for Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – John Hultman, a Purdue Band Alum and speech major who graduated from Purdue in 1958, will be the next “Voice” of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band. The announcement was made at the annual Purdue Bands & Orchestras banquet held Sunday, April 24. The appointment comes after Roy Johnson’s decision to retire as the announcer of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band following this academic year.
John has spent his entire career in broadcast media. After graduation from Purdue, he did a brief stint as “Uncle John” on a kids’ TV show in Fort Wayne, then moved to Detroit where he ran the gamut from disc jockey to reporter to weekend anchor. In 1968 he returned to his hometown of Chicago and joined the staff of WBBM Newsradio, Chicago’s all-news radio station. While working for WBBM, Hultman rose to the position of News Director, a role he filled for ten years.
For years, John Hultman’s voice was recognized by hundreds of thousands of Chicagoland residents. He anchored the WBBM “morning drive” for eighteen years of his career and continues to work there part time. Correspondent, he covered many big stories including Pope John Paul’s visit to Chicago, the tragic crash of Flight 91 near O’Hare in 1979, and joined former Governor Jim Thompson on trade missions to Budapest, Warsaw, and Moscow.
John is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Chicago Headline Club. He is the past president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and was named Illinois Journalist of the Year in 1994 by the Northern Illinois University Department of Journalism. He is also a retired major in the United States Army Reserve.
John has performed on stage at Orchestra Hall as narrator with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and at Pick-Staiger Hall at Northwestern University with the North Shore Concert Band.
Of his three children, two have attended Purdue and have played in the band. In 2009, 2011, and 2013, John and his two children marched on the field together during Homecoming as members of the Alumni Marching Band. John has also served as the “go to” substitute announcer for the band on several occasions. “Being in Purdue Bands & Orchestras can lead to a lifetime of music and I am happy to be back to support an organization that meant so much to me,” said John. He and his wife Wilma live in Northbrook, Illinois. In addition to their three children, they have six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. John enjoys sailing, singing in the church choir, and baking hundreds of loaves of bread each year, most of which he gives away!
We look forward to welcoming John Hultman as the “Voice” of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band at our first home football game on September 3, when Purdue takes on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Wind Ensemble Travels to Carnegie Hall

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Wind Ensemble, Purdue Bands & Orchestras premiere wind band, will be taking the stage at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in March 2016.  Over 65 Purdue students will make the trip, just ten years after Director of Bands, Jay Gephart, took his first performing group. Students will leave Purdue the evening of March 26 and travel throughout the night, arriving in Manhattan the morning of March 27.  A dinner cruise and sightseeing will be included as part of the student tour.  The concert will take place the evening of the March 29 at 8:00 PM.  Tickets can be purchased via the Carnegie Hall Box Office beginning in January 2016 at

For further information, please contact Courtney Downey,

Twirling Auditions Determine New Faces for 16/17 Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – On February 27, 2016 at Lambert Fieldhouse, Purdue Bands & Orchestras held auditions for some of the most prestigious twirling positions in the country.  As a result of these auditions, the following representatives will be serving as ambassadors for Purdue University and its beloved marching band for the 2016-2017 Academic Year:

Golden Girl:  Alexa Phillips, senior from Orlando, FL 

Girl-in-Black:  Julianna Johnson, senior from Niles, OH

Silver Twins: Olivia Zugai, junior from McKeesport, PA and Kaitlyn Schleis, freshman from Oshkosh, WI

Alexa Phillips will continue twirling as Purdue’s 28th Golden Girl for the fourth consecutive season.  Julianna Johnson and Olivia Zugai are not new names to the Purdue Twirling program.  For the past three seasons Julianna has twirled as a Silver Twin alongside Alyssa Lyzen, while Olivia has held a position on the All-American Twirling Team. The All-American Twirling Team offered seven spots post-auditions with commitments being needed by April 1. Erin Curtis has been named the All-American Twirling Team student leader for next season.

The tradition of attracting the nation’s best twirlers to Purdue University ignited in the early 1950s when professor emeritus Dr. Al G. Wright recruited the first Golden Girl to perform with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band. Since then, the band now features the Golden Girl, Girl-in-Black, Silver Twins, and the All-American Twirling Team.

The solo twirler positions are especially integral to the university, with these positions serving not only as leaders of the band, but as ambassadors for Purdue University. Soloists are selected during a rigorous audition process that assesses their twirling techniques and abilities through performances, and their public relations skills through interviews.

Purdue University is unique because twirlers, as well as all band members, (including members of the Golden Silks Color Guard and Golduster Dance Team) must audition for positions annually. All candidates must be admitted to Purdue University in order to qualify for auditions.

With over 125+ years of history, Purdue Bands & Orchestras provides an opportunity for over 850 students to begin their lifelong journey with music as performers, patrons and advocates for the arts, while pursuing a non-music degree in a variety of disciplines. The students who participate in Purdue Bands & Orchestras are stewards of the Boilermaker spirit as the Heartbeat of the University on campus and after graduation, with such honored traditions as the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, the Big Bass Drum and the Golden Girl.

Matthew R. Conaway Assumes Role as Director of Boiler Brass

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Professor Matthew R. Conaway has been named the next director of Purdue’s Boiler Brass men’s basketball pep band beginning with the 2016-2017 season. This appointment comes after the recent announcement by Professor Max Jones that he will step down as Boiler Brass director at the end of the 2015-2016 season.

After a decade long tenure as Director of Bands at West Lafayette High School in West Lafayette, Professor Conaway was appointed to the Purdue faculty in August 2012.  He currently serves as an associate director of the famed Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and directs the Concert and Varsity bands during the spring semester. In addition, Professor Conaway is the faculty supervisor for the band’s various auxiliary units, serves as the department’s technology advisor, and organizes the annual Purdue Band Day event.  He is responsible for coordinating marching band travel, including recent international trips by the “All-American” Marching Band.

Professor Conaway mentors many students, serving as faculty sponsor for the Beta Sigma chapter of Tau Beta Sigma and the Purdue Musical LGBTQ+ Society.  Conaway also serves the university as a member of the Advisory Committee on Equity.

Conaway is an award-winning, internationally-known composer for concert bands, with nearly fifty original works currently in publication. He is also an accomplished arranger, and has written for athletic bands at Purdue University, Indiana University, and many high schools and colleges throughout the country. Millions of people have heard Conaway’s arrangements at multiple festivals, bowl games, basketball tournaments, and other major sporting events since 1999. His compositions and arrangements are available globally through the C.L. Barnhouse Company and the Hal Leonard Corporation.

“Matt Conaway is one of the most talented directors and arrangers in the country and we are honored to have him on our faculty at Purdue.  He will do an amazing job as the new director of Boiler Brass”, says Director of Bands, Jay Gephart.

Matt Conaway received his Bachelor of Music Education degree with Distinction in 2001 from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and earned a Masters of Music degree from the American Band College of Sam Houston State University in 2010.

For further information, please contact Courtney Downey,

Max Jones Announces Semi-Retirement Effective Spring 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Professor Max Jones, Director of Boiler Brass (Men’s Basketball Pep Band), announced his semi-retirement at the conclusion of this year’s season at last night’s band rehearsal.  Max came to Purdue in the fall of 2005, when he took a sabbatical to work with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.  In 2006, he officially became an assistant director, replacing retired Professor Bill Kisinger.  Since then, Max has conducted Boiler Brass, Symphonic Band and has served as the department’s Director of the Roy A. Johnson Partner’s in Music Education program.

Professor Jones will continue to assist with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and will coordinate the Roy A. Johnson Partners in Music Education program.  His decision to step down as the Director of Boiler Brass was based on his desire to spend more time with his wife, Dianne.  Director of Bands, Jay Gephart said, “Max has done an amazing job with Boiler Brass during his time at Purdue.  He has set the stage for future success.  An announcement will be made soon concerning the new director of Boiler Brass.”

Professor Jones has agreed to conduct alumni pep bands during the Holidays, so loyal Boiler Brass Alumni will have the opportunity to enjoy Max, again.

For further information, please contact Courtney Downey,

26th Annual Purdue Jazz Festival

Over eighty big bands and combos from high schools and middle schools across the state of Indiana and entire Midwest have been accepted to compete in the 26th Purdue Jazz Festival in West Lafayette, IN, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.

Festival events begin Thursday, Jan. 21, with a free Community Showcase Concert at 7:30 p.m. in Lafayette’s Long Center.  This concert will feature the Purdue Jazz Band, jazz bands from Tippecanoe County and guest trumpeter Rob Parton.

Throughout the three-day festival, student musicians and the public will rub shoulders with performers of national renown. It boasts several headliner concerts plus competitions, clinics and special events.

The all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra led by Sherrie Maricle serves as the Friday night headliner concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. Jan. 22, in Loeb Playhouse of Purdue’s Stewart Center, sponsored by Purdue Convocations.

On Saturday, instrumental jazz ensembles from four states arrive early as competition stretches throughout the day in seven locations in the Purdue Stewart Center and Purdue Memorial Union on Purdue’s campus. The music starts at 8:00 a.m. and continues through 5:30 p.m. It’s all free. All the festival guest artists will give clinics which are also free and open to the public on Saturday.

Artist-in-residence, Rob Parton will be featured in concert with the Purdue Jazz Band set for noon Jan. 18 in Loeb Playhouse. It’s free and open to the community.

World renowned trombonist Conrad Herwig and tenor saxophonist Chip McNeill, the director of jazz studies at the University of Illinois will headline Saturday’s Festival Finale concert with the Purdue Jazz Band at 6:00 p.m. Jan. 23 in Loeb Playhouse. Awards and outstanding performances and honors for the high school performances will be announced at this concert. The finale concert is not open to the public as festival participants will occupy the concert hall.

The 26th Annual Purdue Jazz Festival is made possible in part by a grant from the Indianapolis Arts Commission (Tippecanoe Arts Federation) with funding from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts, and many corporate sponsors. For a list of festival sponsors, please click here.

For more information on Purdue Jazz Festival events, contact Jaclyn Heinz at (765) 496-6785 or To purchase tickets for headliner concerts call (800) 914- SHOW.

Roy and Sarah Johnson Homecoming Tribute


After 60 years of service to one of the finest collegiate instrumental music programs in the nation, Roy Johnson is retiring at the end of this academic year as the “Voice” of the “All-American” Marching Band. Roy will be remembered throughout history and his legacy will live on through the countless lives he has touched while at Purdue University. To honor Roy and Sarah, the faculty and staff made several surprise announcements that were unveiled throughout the Homecoming weekend.

With the help of the Gamma Pi Alumni Association, a scholarship endowment was created prior to Homecoming. In an effort to keep the scholarship announcement a secret from both Roy and Sarah, the department approached Radio City alumni, along with brothers from Kappa Kappa Psi, and asked them to consider a gift prior to Homecoming weekend. With a goal of $50,000, many band alumni and friends stepped up and helped exceed our expectations. With a lead gift from band alumnus, Marc Hagle and his wife Sharon, plus additional gifts from loyal alumni, more than $138,000 was raised in support of the scholarship. “Announcing a $138,000 endowment to provide scholarships in honor of Roy and Sarah was remarkable. The look on their faces was priceless. We hope more alumni and friends will now come forward to support this scholarship endowment in honor of a truly amazing couple. They have given so much to our department throughout their lives, so I hope this scholarship named after both Roy and Sarah will honor them in a big way,” said Jay Gephart.

The surprises did not stop there. Members of the “All-American” Marching Band announced the addition of the word “Roy” to the band cheer. The addition of this new word will allow all future bandsmen the opportunity to understand the legacy Roy Johnson left on the department during his 60 years of service. At halftime, Roy and Sarah were escorted onto the field for special recognition by the alumni band, “All-American” Marching Band and Purdue University. Roy played a part in designing the halftime performance by selecting two special numbers which included the Circus Show Medley featuring music from the band’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl, and the infamous 1812 Overture, complete with fireworks. The show concluded with special messages from Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and Director of Bands Emeritus, Dr. Al G. Wright. A version of “I Am An American” with words spoken by Sarah, as well as different Purdue celebrities, was also played on the jumbotron. Guest conductors included Bill Kissinger, Dr. David Leppla and Roy Johnson. The show ended with a rousing rendition of Hail Purdue as over 900 people formed the infamous “Block P” on the field.

“Roy and Sarah Johnson have truly been a tremendous asset in every way to our department and we will be forever grateful for all that they have done for our students,” said Gephart.

Should you wish to contribute to the Roy and Sarah Johnson Scholarship Endowment, please click here.

Purdue Jazz Band Director Recognized as Jazz Educator of the Year by Indianapolis Jazz Foundation

Dr. Mo Trout has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Educator of the Year Award.  The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation recognizes and commemorates the jazz greats who continue to provide extraordinary leadership to the jazz community.  Each year, one person is selected for this honor. “I am excited to have been selected as the Jazz Educator of the Year.  The fact that my name was selected over many others in the state is humbling and a true honor.”

Back at Purdue, Dr. Trout is the director of the jazz program.  He has been at Purdue since 1997 and he currently directs the Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble, Lab Jazz Band 1 & 2, and the Concert Jazz Band.  Most recently, he has integrated a new group known as the Guitar Ensemble into the program, which focuses on contemporary and popular styles of performance.

While Purdue University is very unique when compared to other Big Ten institutions, because there are no music majors, over 850 students participated in instrumental music ensembles this fall semester.  In the spring semester, the jazz programs will continue to overflow the basement of Slayter Center with membership in five full big bands, the guitar ensemble and at least five combo groups.

Under the direction of Dr. Trout, the Purdue Jazz Band has collaborated with several internationally known artists including, Bill Watrous, Bob Mintzer, The New York Voices, Marvin Hamlisch, Wayne Begeron, Tom Harrell and more!  All jazz ensembles have had the opportunity to travel and tour both nationally and internationally under Trout’s tenure. Performances have included; four European tours at the Montreux, Alpine and North Sea International Jazz Festivals and three study abroad trips to Italy, Eastern Europe and Spain.  In June 2014, Dr. Trout and a group of jazz students were honored when they received an invitation to participate in a series of jazz camps in Colombia, South America.

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation event begins at 6 p.m. at the Jewel Arts and Events Center, 3333 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, with the awards program and performances beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person ($50 for Jazz Foundation members) and include a dinner buffet. Ticket and membership information is available online at or


Purdue University’s “All-American” Marching Band Twirlers Represent at AYOP

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—Purdue University’s “All-American” Marching Band Twirlers competed at AYOP, July 21-27 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. This national competition brings together the best baton twirlers, teams and corps from around the world.  Another appropriate name would be the “World Series of Baton Twirling.”

This year’s results for Purdue University includes; Golden Girl- Alexa Phillips, Silver Twin- Julianna Johnson, and All-American Twirling Team Member- Olivia Zugai. Alexa placed top 5 in all open events which qualified her to participate in world open finals. Out of 100 twirlers, Alexa placed top 20 as a Grand National Finalist and top 15 Collegiate “Down the Field” participant.  Julianna placed 7th overall in the College Miss Majorette of America pageant as well as top 10 in Collegiate Finals. She also placed 2nd overall the National Majorette Contest and was a 2nd place finalist in the World Open for the 19 year old group. Olivia placed 2nd at AYOP. She was the runner-up for Title of World  Open Strut Champion for the Advanced Age 18 category. This placement qualified her for the Strut Off Competition. Overall, the “All-American” Marching Band Twirlers placed 3rd at AYOP.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras, 712 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-0770

© 2016 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 Courtney Eash at