Dr. Ishbah Cox Announces Departure from Purdue

Dr. Ishbah Cox, Assistant Professor of Bands, will leave Purdue Bands & Orchestras prior to the start of the next academic year.  He will be moving to Columbus, Ohio where he will join his wife, Dr. Monica F. Cox, who recently accepted the position as Department Chair of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University.

Cox began his tenure in 2008, when he joined the faculty at Purdue Bands & Orchestras.  Since then, he has directed the Symphonic, Collegiate, and Fall Concert Bands, Boiler Box Band, Brass Choir, and assisted with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band (AAMB).  Dr. Cox was also the founder of the First Year Engineering Learning Community for Purdue Bands & Orchestras and has managed the student staff office corps.

A native of Notasulga, Alabama, Cox received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Auburn University, his master’s degree is in music performance from the University of Alabama, and most recently his Doctorate of Arts in Wind Conducting with a secondary specialization in Euphonium Performance at Ball State University.

He is active as a festival adjudicator, clinician, conductor, and arranger. He has performed and traveled internationally as a conductor in Spain and tours of Eastern Europe, and has traveled with the AAMB to Colombia and Ireland. He has also guest conducted the Middle Tennessee State University and Auburn University Honor Bands, Indiana Bandmasters Association Regional and District Honor Bands, the Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble, the Mississippi State University Symphonic and Concert Bands, and the University of South Alabama Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. As a published arranger for Hal Leonard Corporation since 2013, his marching and pep band arrangements have been performed before international and national audiences and have garnered over one million YouTube hits.

“Ishbah Cox was such a huge asset to our team at Purdue.  His legacy in our department is far-reaching. We are going to miss his leadership, dedication to our students, and as a faculty and staff, we will miss a dear friend. Ishbah will be a tremendous asset wherever his career leads him,” said Director of Bands, Jay Gephart.



Purdue “All-American” Marching Band Helps IMS Celebrate 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Marching in the footsteps of 97 years of band students preceding them, more than 250 members of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will take center stage at the 100th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 29, when they play for the race’s opening ceremonies.

On Race Day, the Purdue “All-American” Band will be the headliner in the traditional Parade of Bands that begins at 8:00 am at the track. Each year, Purdue invites bands across the United States to participate in the event, which is dominated by high school musicians. This year, 13 bands from across the state of Indiana, Washington, and Florida will be joining the Purdue Band. As it has done for many years, the band will play “On the Banks of the Wabash,” as well as play entertaining music for the mass crowd prior to the start time.
It was the marching band’s first director, Paul Spotts Emrick, who forged the initial relationship with the Indianapolis 500 in 1919, the race’s ninth year of existence. Always interested in promoting his band and Purdue, Emrick leapt at the chance to be associated with the young race that was quickly establishing an international reputation. At that time, the band was a military unit of men enrolled in Reserve Officer Training Corps at Purdue University.

Purdue’s band will again be featured in the IPL 500 Festival Parade at noon Saturday, May 28, which begins at North and Pennsylvania, and winds its way through downtown Indianapolis. 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 then.


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 carnegiehall.org.

For further information, please contact Courtney Downey, cndowney@purdue.edu


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, cndowney@purdue.edu


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, cndowney@purdue.edu



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 heinzj@purdue.edu To purchase tickets for headliner concerts call (800) 914- SHOW.


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