Purdue Bands & Orchestras COVID-19 Update – March 11, 2020

In light of the recent global outbreak of COVID-19, Purdue University announced (on March 10), it will move completely to online learning starting on March 23 and potentially continuing through the end of the spring 2020 semester. In addition, all university-sponsored travel (domestic and international) and events involving any external visitors or over 50 people are suspended effective March 16 – May 2.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras is working closely with University officials regarding online learning plans for our student ensembles for the remainder of the semester. As of today, all remaining spring semester concerts and events have been cancelled. We will post updates on our website as soon as new information is confirmed. For more information on Purdue’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://bit.ly/2Izx3aS.

New Twirlers Selected for 2020-2021 Purdue “All-American” Marching Band

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Amanda Coy of Saline, Michigan, has been named the 31 st Purdue Golden Girl,
continuing a tradition started by Director of Bands Emeritus, Dr. Al G. Wright in 1954. On Saturday,
February 29, her audition earned her one of the most iconic positions on Purdue’s campus. Coy is a
sophomore in the Purdue Honors College studying Health Sciences Pre-Professional with a
concentration in Pre-Medicine and held the position of Girl-in-Black for the last two seasons.

Incoming freshman, Haley Aiken of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, will make her debut as the Girl-in-Black.
Aiken has been twirling for 13 years and will graduate from Penn Trafford High School this spring. Aiken
will be studying Biochemistry.

We will welcome back Alicia Dennie from Culver, Indiana, in the position of Miss Boilerette. Dennie is a
current junior studying Pre-Dentistry. Miss Boilerette was originally part of the Purdue Twirling program
during the 2009-2010 season.

Sophomore, Alexis Piskulic of Arnold, Missouri, and junior, Brooke Wyatt of LaFontaine, Indiana, return
as the Silver Twins. Wyatt, who is studying Hospitality and Tourism Management, along with Piskulic,
who is studying Political Science and Sociology, are returning for their third year together to the position
of Silver Twins for the 2020-2021 season.

In addition, ten students were offered spots on the All-American Twirling Team to round out the Purdue
Twirling program. They include returning twirlers, junior Marin Parker, sophomores Ashley Brazeau and
Leah DePasquale, current freshmen Caroline Hawkins and Iman Mevaa, and incoming freshmen Zoë
Dotts-Brown, Katie Harris, Alexa Lytle, Lily See, and Aria Summers.

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 make their debut performance on Saturday, August 22, when the 135th
edition of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band takes the field for their End-Of-Camp Performance.
To read more about the history of the Purdue Twirling program, visit

Purdue Jazz & Orchestra Spring Break Greece Trip Suspended

Purdue University announced on Thursday, March 5 that it is suspending all university-sponsored student travel to international locations over the upcoming spring break period. This includes the Purdue Jazz & Orchestra trip to Greece. You can read more about this decision and the reasoning behind it HERE.

Purdue Bands & Orchestras is working directly with the travel company on reimbursement protocol for the students affected by this suspension. Further information will be communicated directly to these students as soon as it is available.

The university has seen no positive cases of COVID-19 and will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal recommendations. Current information on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.

$10 million gift sets the stage for new Bands and Orchestras building

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Drum roll, please: The new home of the Purdue Bands & Orchestras will be named Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall in honor of a $10 million leadership gift from the Marc and Sharon Hagle Charitable Foundation.

Approved by the Purdue Board of Trustees in December, the $20 million, 37,500-square-foot, four-story facility will be built at the southeast corner of Third and Russell streets. It will be along Third Street’s Student Success Corridor, which connects student residential areas with the campus’s academic center.

With an additional $10 million fundraising campaign from private donors now underway, construction on Hagle Hall is expected to start in September and finish by December 2021. Purdue Bands & Orchestras anticipates having occupancy as early as March 2022.

Marc and Sharon Hagle, with 2019 Hagle Scholars and Jay Gephart, Purdue’s Al G. Wright Chair and Director of Bands. Download image

Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced the Hagles’ gift on Saturday (Feb. 15) at the President’s Council Naples (Florida) Annual Dinner. He presented the couple, residents of Winter Park, Florida, with the Purdue crystal train — a Boilermaker Special replica — in recognition of their gift.

“Announcing the new Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall — and the leadership gift that makes it possible — is music to the ears of the more than 15,000 Bands & Orchestras alumni around the world, just as it is to all of us who have had our spirits raised and our hearts touched by the remarkable student performers in Purdue Bands & Orchestras over the years,” Daniels said. “Thanks to Marc and Sharon’s exceptional generosity in launching this project, we will have a teaching and learning showcase for this world-class program.”

Hagle Hall will provide dedicated space for the 133-year-old Bands & Orchestras program, which has operated in Elliott Hall since that facility’s completion in 1940.

The alumnus champion of the project, Marc Hagle graduated from Purdue with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1971 and a master’s in business and industrial administration in 1972. As a student, he performed in the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band drum line, including during Purdue’s 14-13 victory at the 1967 Rose Bowl, and participated in the symphonic band.

Marc is president and CEO of Tricor International, and he serves as president and managing director of Virgin Fest, a licensee of the Virgin brand to operate music festivals throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Sharon, an alumna of Morris Harvey College, has been a real estate entrepreneur since 1983 and is active in the couple’s charitable and philanthropic work. She is the founder of SpacekidsGlobal, an organization that seeks to inspire one million elementary school students about space travel and STEM education, with a focus on empowering young girls.

In 2015, the Hagles contributed to the Roy and Sarah Johnson Purdue Bands & Orchestras Endowment Scholarship Program to honor Roy Johnson’s 60 years of service to Purdue’s instrumental music programs and his role as the “Voice” of the “All-American” Marching Band.

On a visit to Purdue several years ago, Marc reconnected with Roy Johnson, and on a more recent trip, he toured Elliott Hall, stopping by the antiquated rooms 15 and 30 rehearsal areas — visits that prompted the Hagles’ interest in supporting a facility commensurate with the Bands & Orchestras’ high caliber and international acclaim.

“The department has outgrown its space two times over, and when we were presented with the proposal to help, we bought into it instantly,” Marc said. “Everybody who participates in Bands & Orchestras has an opportunity that will affect them for the rest of their lives, as it did mine. It is a terrific character-building experience, and the dedication you put into it pays you back in personal reward many times over.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to make a difference,” Sharon added.

Marc and Sharon Hagle (third and fourth from right), with Purdue trustee Vanessa Castagna, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, and students from Purdue Bands & Orchestras. (Photo/New Frame Photography) Download image

Marc credits Jay Gephart, the Al G. Wright Chair, director of bands and professor of music, for elevating the national and international reputation of the “All-American” Marching Band since being appointed its director in 2006. In 2010, the band became the first from the Big Ten to lead the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. During his tenure, Gephart has led the band in numerous international performances, including concerts in China, Ireland and Colombia.

“There has been talk about a new facility since I came to Purdue in 1995,” Gephart said. “It took Marc and Sharon’s personal involvement, generosity and drive to put our dream on the fast track. This building is the game changer we’ve needed to take our ‘Giant Leap’ forward as a program. That’s how important Marc and Sharon’s lead gift is. This facility will transform the way our students learn and how this department operates.”

Since fall 2013, the university — which has no music school — has seen a 65% growth in participation in Bands & Orchestras and now counts more than 1,120 students in more than 30 ensembles, concert bands and jazz bands, as well as the marching band. These students, more than 70% of whom are in STEM disciplines, boast an average GPA of 3.28, which is higher than the Purdue average. A YouTube video is available here.

Gephart noted that the new building’s location will bring greater visibility to the program as part of the academic environment. Students and passersby will be able to see rehearsals from Third Street, which will become a pedestrian thoroughfare by the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

Other features of the building:

  • A glass showcase for the “All-American” Marching Band’s iconic “World’s Largest Drum,” which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. The display will make the drum easily photographable for family and student photos and social media posts.
  • Accessible and environmentally controlled rehearsal space, including individual, small and large practice rooms with state-of-the-art acoustics.
  • An elevator that lifts heavy equipment to and from the loading zone. “Now we have to haul drums, instruments and equipment up a flight of stairs to the truck when we’re preparing to travel,” Gephart said.
  • Two new rehearsal rooms that will double as classrooms when not in use by musical ensembles.

Adjacent to the marching band’s Hull Field rehearsal space, an expansion to the Turf Recreation Exercise Center, or TREC, will provide restrooms, changing facilities, instrument and uniform storage and, in case of inclement weather, indoor practice space.

“We are excited about the future and for what this new facility will mean for all of our students,” Gephart said. “What we have done and will do, as alumni and friends working together, will be remarkable.”

To make a gift to Hagle Hall, visit giving.purdue.edu/bandsor contact Bob Shriner, rtshriner@prf.org, 765-494-0246.

Drum Majors Selected for Purdue “All-American” Marching Band’s 2020-21 Season

Following a demanding audition process, the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band is pleased to announce that Torey Caldwell and Lorin Nugent will serve as the Drum Majors for the 2020-21 season. The two will lead the band to carry on its tradition of excellence through athletic events, travel opportunities, and thrilling performances.

Torey is a Junior from Naperville, Illinois. She has served in the AAMB as a trumpet player and student leader. She is majoring in Materials Engineering with a minor in English.

Lorin is a Junior from Champaign, Illinois. He was a member of the very first Boiler Beats drumline, and has played tenor drums and served as a student leader in the AAMB. He is majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics.

As the AAMB celebrates this appointment, the Band also wishes their outgoing Drum Majors, Lucy Bays and Brendan Schultz, all the best as they begin very successful careers following graduation in May. The first public performance for the new Drum Majors is on Saturday, August 22, when the 135th edition of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band takes the field for their End-Of-Camp Performance at Hull Field.







Purdue University Director of Bands Awarded Sagamore of the Wabash

The Purdue Bands & Orchestras Awards Banquet takes place at the end of each semester, recognizing student accomplishments and awarding many unique scholarships. The Fall 2019 Awards Banquet on Sunday, November 24 began with a special surprise. Professor Jay Gephart, Director and Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands & Orchestras was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash – one of the highest honors in the State of Indiana. Purdue University President Mitch Daniels presented the award on behalf of the Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb. Gephart received the award in recognition of his dedication to excellence and the impact he has had throughout the state.


In addition, State Representative and loyal Purdue alumna, Sheila Klinker, presented Gephart with a golden Seal of the State of Indiana celebrating his 25 years as a faculty member with Purdue Bands & Orchestras.


The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. The term “sagamore” was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage.


Purdue “All-American” Marching Band Celebrates Halloween Tradition

The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will celebrate an exciting band tradition during their daily rehearsal time on *Thursday, October 31. Every year for Halloween, the entire band dresses up in coordinating costumes within each rank. Hundreds of kids from the community line Third Street with their families to watch the band parading to rehearsal in unique costumes. Once the band has arrived at the rehearsal field, the faculty and staff will select their favorite costumes.

The band will step off from Elliott Hall of Music at 3:30pm and march down Third Street to Hull Field, directly across from Shreve Hall. The band will then rehearse at the field and step off around 5:15pm to return to Elliott at 5:30pm. All are welcome to watch the band’s parade and rehearsal.

*In the case of inclement weather on October 31, the Halloween Rehearsal will be moved to Friday, November 1. Check for updates on the Purdue Bands & Orchestras Facebook page later in the week. 

Purdue Twirling Takes Home National Titles

The Purdue University Twirling program continued its long tradition of excellence this summer, winning multiple titles at the 2019 USA Twirling Championships. The twirlers competed in multiple team and individual events during the last week of July at the University of Notre Dame.

With their Space-themed show honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, the Purdue Twirlers were named 2019 Grand National Collegiate Halftime Show Team Champions. The team featured a combination of the All-American Twirling Team and all five Purdue Solo Twirlers including the Golden Girl, Girl-in-Black, Miss Boilerette, and the Silver Twins. Along with this prestigious title, the twirlers were also awarded with a scholarship.

In addition to the team’s success, Golden Girl Kaitlyn Schleis was named the 2019 Grand National Collegiate Solo Champion. Kaitlyn competed against more than one hundred collegiate participants from all across the country. Her performance featured twirling to Purdue’s fight songs and some of the crowd-favorite tunes played by the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band in Ross-Ade Stadium every football season. She was awarded the $2500 Susan Dailey Orr Scholarship in conjunction with her national title.

With these national titles, Purdue Twirling continues to be one of the most storied twirling programs in the country. Fans can watch the National Champion Purdue Twirlers with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band at their End-of-Camp performance at 7:30pm on August 17 at Hull Field.

The USA Twirling Championships, also known as American Youth on Parade (AYOP), were hosted by the National Baton Twirling Association.

New Artist-in-Residence Joins Purdue Bands & Orchestras

Dr. David Blon will join Purdue Bands & Orchestras in a one-year position as Artist-in-Residence beginning in August 2019. David received his Bachelor of Music at Slippery Rock University, his Master of Music at Youngstown State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, David was Director of the University of Hawai’i Symphonic Band and the “Rainbow Warrior” Marching Band. Most recently, he served as the Graduate Teaching and Conducting Assistant for the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. For the past three summers, he was the Ensemble Manager for the World Youth Wind Symphony at Interlochen Center for the Arts. His professional experience and academic success will provide a wealth of knowledge as he works with the students in Purdue Bands & Orchestras.

As Artist-in-Residence, David will live in Shreve Hall, where the Purdue Bands & Orchestras Learning Communities are also housed. His responsibilities will include assisting in the daily operations of the Purdue concert band program, coaching and directing various chamber ensembles, serving as the primary conductor for one concert band in the fall and spring, assisting with the Purdue Wind Ensemble in the fall and spring semesters, and coordinating and implementing programming in cooperation with University Residences. The 2019-2020 academic year will be the first time in recent history Purdue Bands & Orchestras has hosted an Artist-in Residence.

The Artist-in-Residence program is one of the primary programs to fulfill the Residential Academic Initiatives at Purdue University. The Artist-in-Residence lives in the residential community for two important reasons:

  1. The integration of a faculty member in the community elevates the intellectual dialogue and civil discourse of the residential environment.
  2. The mentorships and relationships built between residents and faculty as part of this program are instrumental in increasing retention and graduation rates of students.

Please help us welcome Dr. David Blon to Purdue Bands & Orchestras.


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