2018-2019 Golden Silks Color Guard Announced

After a very competitive audition process, the 2018-2019 Golden Silks Color Guard has been announced. The team welcomes 11 new members this year, including Christina Davidson studying Pharmacy, Elexis Farrell studying Microbiology, Eva Hensley studying Nursing, Roxanne Huff studying Biochemistry, Michaela Huffman studying Medical Laboratory Sciences, Sarah Myers studying Kinesiology, Nadiah Muhammad studying Creative Writing, Breanna Roti studying Secondary Education – Mathematics, Nina Scheel studying Anthropology, Hannah Tomkins studying Engineering, and Sarah VanBuskirk studying Psychology.

Returning members include Sara Cunningham, Kaycie Eide, Erin Hendrix, Allie Megl, Maddie Moore, Lindsey Muller, Maraya Neff, Sarah Niehaus, Lauren Richardson, Kaitlyn Scholl, Aidan Selvia, Caitlin Sever, Colbye Skeens, Hailey Stoddard, Hannah Tubbs, Isabelle Weatherhead, Katelyn Witcraft, and Teresa Woerner.

2018-19 AAMB Drum Major Announced

Following a lengthy and demanding audition process, the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band is pleased to announce that Zach Sutton will serve as the Drum Major for the 2018-19 season, and will lead the band into another great year of athletic events, travel opportunities, and thrilling performances.

Zach is a Senior from Valparaiso, IN (Valparaiso High School).  He has served the AAMB as a baritone player and student leader. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology through the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Professor Matt Conaway oversees the AAMB Drum Majors, and is very enthusiastic about the upcoming season with Zach.  “Zach has worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and the entire staff has great confidence in his ability to lead our band.  He commands respect and will be a fantastic Drum Major for the 2018-19 season.”

As the AAMB celebrates this appointment, the Band also wishes outgoing Drum Majors Robert Steele and Loretta Trezza all the best as they prepare for graduation and the start of long and successful careers.  The first public performance for the new Drum Major is on Saturday, August 18, when the 133rd edition of the “All-American” Marching Band takes the field for their End-Of-Camp Performance.

2018 – 2019 Golduster Dance Team Announced

After an extremely competitive audition process, the 2018-2019 Golduster Dance Team has been announced. The team welcomes 5 incoming freshmen as new members this year. Ally Kiger is a senior at Harrison High School, from Lafayette, Indiana, and majoring in Marketing. Rylee Madden is a senior at Ottawa Township High School, from Ottawa, Illinois, and majoring in Engineering. Hannah Ortman is a senior at Carroll High School, from Bringhurst, Indiana, and is majoring in Exploratory Studies. Brittany Rogers is a senior at Perry Meridian High School, from Indianapolis, Indiana, and is majoring in Engineering. Sophia Strain is a senior at Center Grove High School, from Greenwood, Indiana, and is majoring in Industrial Design.


Returning members include Anna Collins, Jayne Denson, Brittany Gallarneau, Kate Giglio, Keiley Kordick, Emily Lins, Caitie Madden, Emma McAlister, Madison Rinehart, Sarah Sipe, Sara Strahl, Dayna Tanner, and Lauren Waddington.

French Horn Rebecca Salo wins 2018 Sudler Prize in the Arts

Rebecca Salo has been named the 2018 winner of the Purdue Sudler Prize in the Arts. This marks the eleventh time in fifteen years a Purdue Bands & Orchestras student has been named Purdue’s top senior in the arts.

This prestigious prize was endowed by Louis Sudler, a Chicago industrialist with an incredible appreciation of the arts. It has since served as an annual prize in the arts at fourteen major universities:  Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, MIT, University of Chicago, Michigan State, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Duke, Rice, and Stanford.

Each year, top seniors in the arts are nominated by their respective departments at Purdue to compete for the award.  Contestants come from Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue Musical Organizations, Purdue Bands & Orchestras and the Purdue Black Cultural Center.

Salo is a senior at Purdue University, majoring in electrical engineering with minors in mathematics and music theory. Rebecca currently plays principal French horn in the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also been a member of the Purdue Brass Quintet and the Purdue Wind Ensemble. She has recently performed as a soloist with the Kokomo Park Band and Purdue Wind Ensemble, and will be the guest soloist with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra later this spring. After graduating from Purdue in May, Rebecca plans to pursue a Masters in Horn performance.

Professor Jay Gephart elected Vice President of American Bandmasters Association

Professor Jay S. Gephart of Purdue University was elected Vice President of the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) at their recent convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Gephart will serve as Vice President in 2018, President-Elect in 2019, and will assume the role of President of ABA in 2020.

The American Bandmasters Association, founded in 1929, with John Philip Sousa as Honorary Life President, recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of Concert Band conductors and composers. The current membership (invitational) comprises approximately 300 band conductors and composers in the USA and Canada, and 80 Associate Members (music businesses and corporations that provide significant services to bands and to the publication of band music.)

This marks the second time the Director of Bands at Purdue University has been elected to this prestigious role with Dr. Al G. Wright of Purdue University Bands serving as President in 1981. Professor Gephart currently serves as the Director of Bands and Al G. Wright Chair for Purdue Bands & Orchestras. The election to Vice President comes on the heels of Gephart being named the 2018 Outstanding Collegiate Music Educator of the Year by the Indiana Music Education Association (IMEA). For more information on ABA, visit www.americanbandmasters.org. To view Professor Gephart’s full bio, visit www.purdue.edu/bands/directors.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras remember Dianne Jones


Dianne Dwiggins Jones (71), a remarkable and beloved elementary music teacher, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at home in Lafayette, Indiana surrounded by her husband, Max Jones, son, Gavin Jones, family and friends.  Dianne was born with a congenital heart defect and for the last five years, although she struggled with advanced heart failure, continued to enjoy and live her life to the fullest.

Dianne was born in Winchester, Indiana on February 1, 1947, to Phyllis Ann Dwiggins and the late Donald Dwiggins, where her love of music began and was nurtured in the Dwiggins household. Guided by their father, Dianne and her brothers often sang and performed together at home and at local venues.  The “Dwiggins kids” continued to participate in music in high school and sang in many of the school’s musicals, including Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma and South Pacific, where Dianne played major roles. After high school, they continued singing, with three of the siblings entering college as music majors.

Dianne graduated from Lee L. Driver High School in 1965.  She continued to pursue music at Ball State University, where she graduated as a voice major with a B.S. in education in 1968 and later earned a M.A. in music in 1976.

Dianne met Max when they were assigned an instrument locker to share in the music building at Ball State in the Fall of 1966.  The two became fast acquaintances and as time went on, Max was able to persuade her that he should be the love of her life. On July 13, 1968, Dianne and Max were married at College Avenue Methodist Church in Muncie, with Max’s father, John Paul, officiating.

Dianne began her teaching career as an elementary music teacher in Parker City and Farmland, Indiana and also later taught at Eaton, Winchester and Concord Schools in Elkhart.  Over the 30+ years of teaching vocal music and assisting Max with his Indiana high school marching bands, Dianne touched an overwhelming number of students who have reached out, even in recent months, to share their heartfelt memories. A common theme is the recognition of Dianne’s dedication to teaching, enthusiasm for life, positive energy, love of all children, and commitment to the pursuit of happiness through music.  Families, parents, colleagues and students consistently thanked Dianne for the extra effort and significant contributions she made year after year.  Apparent to everyone who met Dianne was the standard of excellence she brought to everything, from Spring and Christmas programs to Circle the State with Song to marching band rehearsals, and even her famous Halloween witch cackle that delighted teachers and students alike.

Dianne retired from teaching in 2007, when she and Max moved to Lafayette permanently to be closer to Purdue University for Max’s appointment as Assistant Professor of Bands.

Over the years in Lafayette, Dianne made many close friends through the Purdue Women’s Club and maintained an active social calendar with the Green Plate Society, Concord Eastside’s Best and the Directors Dinner Bunch.  She loved eating out with Max and all of their friends, as she happily boasted achieving a lifetime goal of never having baked a pie!  She also enjoyed spending time directing a number of remodel projects of the Lafayette home, which she recalled was purchased by Max without her input.  As she would explain to you, she spent the required time making an unacceptable home into the beautifully acceptable one that we all know and love today.  Dianne was thankful for every visitor that came to their warm Lafayette home, but she and Max were especially grateful for all of the Purdue band “’kids” that came by to help on various home projects over the years.

Dianne and Max approached life as a team, whether it was music, family or community.  Together, they were members of the United Methodist Church for her entire life.  While Dianne spent a significant part of her life committed to music and education, she and Max always put family first.  Dianne recalled her break from teaching while Gavin was young as the most wonderful time.  Dianne and Max loved to travel all over the US and neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, including frequent visits to Lake Norris, Tennessee, where they spent time with their family and best friends in cabins, on houseboats or at their condo over the past 30 years.  Following Dianne’s retirement, they also traveled to England, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Germany with Dianne’s last international adventure taking them to Hong Kong this past Spring, where Gavin and his wife, Erika, currently reside.

Dianne will be most remembered for her exceptionally beautiful singing voice, her passion for music, her humor, her love of shopping, her fashion sense and most of all, her radiant smile that lit up any room.

Dianne was predeceased by her father, Donald, sister, Daralee, and brother-in-law, Randy.  She is survived by her mother, Phyllis Ann, her husband, Max, her son, Gavin (Erika), her brothers, Dean, Dennis (Judy), Doug (Carolyn), Daniel, her brothers-in-law, Keith (Cindy), Ken (Marian), sisters-in-law, Marna (Paul Vandenberg), Kathy Carey, and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Dianne’s life will be held at the Towne Square Community Centre at 123 W. Franklin Street on Saturday, March 31, 2018 in Dianne’s hometown of Winchester, Indiana. Visitation will begin at 1pm until the start of the service at 3pm. All are welcome to attend and share in this public celebration to honor Dianne’s legacy.

At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, memorial charitable contributions are preferred and may be made to the Max and Dianne Jones Memorial Music Lesson Scholarships Fund (for Winchester Community High School Band & Choir Students) c/o Community Foundation of Randolph County, 213 South Main St., Winchester, IN 47394, www.randolphcountyfoundation.org.  Checks should be made payable to the Community Foundation of Randolph County. Please note Dianne Jones on the memo line.

Please share memories and condolences online at www.diannedwigginsjones.com.



New Twirlers Selected for 2018-2019 Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Kaitlyn Schleis of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has been named the 30th Purdue Golden Girl, continuing a tradition started by Director of Bands Emeritus, Dr. Al G. Wright in 1954. On Saturday, March 3rd, her audition earned her one of the most iconic positions on Purdue’s campus. Schleis is a sophomore in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and held the position of Girl-in-Black during the 2017-2018 season.

Incoming freshman, Amanda Coy of Saline, Michigan, will make her debut in as the Girl-in-Black. Coy began twirling in 2003 and twirled on a competitive team for 13 years. Coy will be studying Political and Health Sciences.

Based on the exciting growth of the Purdue Twirling program and many strong candidates, we will be welcoming back the position of Miss Boilerette. Alicia Dennie, current Silver Twin from Culver, Indiana, will hold the title of Miss Boilerette for the upcoming season. Dennie is a current freshman studying Nutrition and Dietetics. Miss Boilerette was part of the Purdue Twirling program during the 2009-2010 season.

The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will welcome incoming freshman, Alexis Piskulic of Arnold, Missouri, and current freshman, Brooke Wyatt of LaFontaine, Indiana, as the Silver Twins. Wyatt, who is in Exploratory Studies, is returning to her position as a Silver Twin for the 2018-2019 season. Piskulic has been twirling since the age of ten and was Seckman High School Feature Twirler. She will be studying Biochemistry.

In addition, eight students were offered spots on the All-American Twirling Team to round out the Purdue Twirling program. They include returning twirlers, sophomores Mackenzie Joefreda and Emma Schafer, current freshmen Sarah Cohen and Marin Parker, and incoming freshmen Lauren Borchart, Ashley Brazeau, Leah DePasquale, and April Gable.

All twirlers and band members are required to audition for positions annually, and candidates must be admitted to Purdue University in order to qualify for auditions. We are thrilled to welcome our new team to Purdue this fall. They will be making their debut at the Purdue v. Northwestern game on Thursday, August 30, 2018.


Indy 500 Legend & friend of Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, Jim Nabors, Dies at 87

The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band lost a very dear friend today. Jim Nabors was arguably the most historic figure of the Indianapolis 500 since 1972. In 2014, Nabors sang Back Home Again in Indiana in the pre-race festivities for his 36th and final time. The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band had the incredible honor to accompany him on the famous song year after year. Thanks for the memories Jim! You will be dearly missed.

For more information on the life, accomplishments, and legacy of Jim Nabors, visit www.jimnabors.com.

Purdue University Director of Bands selected as Music Educator Award Winner

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – The Indiana Music Education Association announces Jay Gephart, Al G. Wright Chair and Director of Bands at Purdue University, as the 2018 Outstanding Collegiate Music Educator of the Year. This award is given to those who have exemplified outstanding achievement in the field of music education at the collegiate level.

Jay S. Gephart joined the faculty of Purdue University in the fall of 1995 after completing twelve years as a public school band director. 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 director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and the Purdue University Wind Ensemble. Gephart currently holds the position of Vice President and Treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation and serves on the American Bandmaster’s Association Board of Directors. He also is the current President of Indiana’s chapter of the band fraternity, Phi Beta Mu.

IMEA will present the award in January at their annual Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne, IN.

For more information about the IMEA Awards, visit www.imeamusic.org/imea-recognition-awards/

Caitlin Benner Joins Staff as Recruitment and Communications Specialist

Caitlin Benner has been selected as the Recruitment and Communications Specialist for Purdue Bands & Orchestras.

Benner is a 2012 graduate of Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication/Human Relations.  While an undergraduate, Caitlin was a featured vocalist for four years with the Purdue Jazz Band and Jazz Combo. In 2009, she completed a Disney College Program Internship, making magic through impeccable guest service at the Emporium on Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom.  While at Disney, Caitlin also completed ACE courses in Marketing and Public Relations at Disney University.  In 2012,​​​​ she was honored to represent Purdue Bands & Orchestras as the Sudler Prize for the Arts award winner, proudly receiving the recognition from Purdue University’s eleventh President, France A. Córdova, at commencement.


After graduation, Caitlin has continued her participation in the local music community by performing as a vocalist with Lafayette’s Big Swing Band, in roles for Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette and Heartland Productions, and in guest vocalist appearances with the Lafayette Citizen’s Band.  Through her customer service work as a representative of Quinlan & Fabish Music Company, she has coordinated with area school music directors to support seamless participation by students and parents in local band and orchestra programs. Caitlin has also created social media content for various clients including: Greyhouse Coffee, Hot House Market, Treasures Untold Trove, the Lala, and DizRadio – a Disney on Demand podcast.  She and her husband Caleb, who performed together in PJB, just celebrated their fifth anniversary and live in Lafayette with their fearsome cat Giselle.

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