Ambassador Profiles


Bobby

Bobby Belzeski

Major/Year: Sophomore studying Hospitality and Tourism Management

Ensemble: Trumpet in the “All-American” Marching Band

Hometown: St. John, Indiana

Email: rbelzesk@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I joined the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band because of my passion and love for music and the marching arts. I’ve been around high school and college marching bands nearly my whole life, and it was something I could not live without. Seeing and hearing how spectacular the band marches and sounds was truly inspiring while visiting. I also wanted to join because the band not only plays at every home football game, but travels across the country and the world to places such as New York, Ireland, and Colombia. The Purdue Wind Ensemble also visited and partnered with my high school during my senior year. That experience allowed me to meet many students and band faculty, and truly understand how their program works This allowed me to feel so comfortable with Purdue Bands & Orchestras.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band?

I love that we are the ‘spirit’ of Purdue. I love that the band students are the biggest supporters of all programs in the University from football to volleyball. I love seeing the students’ reactions to the band, whether it’s just a parade block marching back to Elliott Hall of Music from our practice field, or a cool formation we made on the football field during halftime. The school cares about us, and that makes what we do worth it!

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

One of the best opportunities I have had so far with the department is being able to be so involved. In my first three months at Purdue, I was able to join the Records & Recruitment Office as a band ambassador, join Box Band (Volleyball Pep Band), and join Gold and Black Sound (Women’s Basketball Pep Band). These extra ensembles have allowed me to grow as a musician and meet an endless amount of new people that I’ve been able to call a family.


Griffin

Griffin Holland

Major/Year: Junior studying Aeronautical Engineering

Ensemble: Alto Saxophone in the “All-American” Marching Band,

Hometown: Lakeville, Minnesota

Email: ghollan@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I marched all throughout high school, and I loved it. I knew that if I went to a college with a marching program, I would not hesitate to try out. When I decided on Purdue, I immediately began practicing and preparing for band camp.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band?

I love the sense of community in the “All-American” Marching Band. The saxophones are truly my second family (And I know how cliche that sounds, but it’s so true!). We are all so close, we do so much together, we have each other’s backs, and we have a great time, anytime! This band truly was my saving grace during my freshman year. I was put into freshman overflow housing away from the normal dorms, and the band provided me with the community and friendships I couldn’t make because of my housing seclusion.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

One of my most memorable experiences in this department was the “All-American” Marching Band’s Trip to Colombia. It was a fantastic experience, tons of fun, and all around wonderful. I will never forget how incredible the parade was in the Festival of Flowers in Medellin. The cheering crowds and thunderous applause is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.


Arielle

Arielle Selvia

Major/Year: Junior studying Chemistry

Ensemble: Clarinet in the “All-American” Marching Band

Hometown: Avon, Indiana

Email: aselvia@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I’ve met a lot of adults who have told me that they regret not playing their instruments later in their lives, and I realized that I wasn’t quite ready to ‘move on’ and leave music behind. For someone as physically and emotionally unmotivated as myself, marching band is an excellent way to socialize and exercise daily!

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band?

Marching band is a fun activity. Even if I am having a bad, stressful day, seeing the wonderful faces of the clarinet section and putting on entertaining shows always improves my attitude. Also, being a member of the marching band presents plenty of opportunities for leadership and service.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

This summer, I traveled to Colombia with the marching band! I had never before traveled outside of the country, and it was an amazing cultural experience. I won’t forget the people I met there and the places I visited.


Timothy

Timothy Walther

Major: Junior studying Chemical Engineering

Ensemble: Trumpet in the “All-American” Marching Band

Hometown: Lake Forest, Illinois

Email: twalther@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

My high school did not have a marching band, and therefore I felt like I was missing something crucial to being an instrumentalist. I thought ‘What better way to start marching, than with one of the largest marching bands in the nation?’ I wanted a place where I could continue to play the instrument that I love, get to know people who share that passion, and play in an environment that lacks the stress of being a music major, but is just as professional.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band?

I love the fact that the “All-American” Marching Band is a community of people who are there because they have a passion for what they do. I have met my best friends in this band, my current roommate, my roommate for next year, friends who I’ve joined other clubs with, and all around good people. The “All-American” Marching Band is such a diverse group with people from all majors and personalities, and you will always feel surrounded by friends.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I was able to go with the “All-American” Marching Band to Medellín, Colombia this past summer. I’ve been to Bruges, Paris, Prague, and Budapest with other bands, and Colombia was definitely my favorite experience that I’ve ever had with any band. The people in this city were so unbelievably receptive to us. They cheered loud for “Hail Purdue”, a song that had no meaning for them. When we played “My Voy Para Medellín”, the city’s unofficial anthem, the people erupted in song and dance with tears streaming down their faces. Never have I felt like I had such a large impact in a band.


Becky

Becky Steele

Major/Year: Senior studying Genetic Biology

Ensemble: Trombone in the “All-American” Marching Band, Euphonium in Wind Ensemble

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Email: steele52@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I couldn’t imagine doing school without music. Music relaxes me, gives me an outlet for expression, and is something that I enjoy investing time and energy into in order to excel. I had to have it in my life in college! I auditioned for the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band because it’s a fun, exciting group to be a part of. The “All-American” Marching Band carries spirit of the university and contributes to the culture here in a major way. Along with that, the music they perform is amazing and challenging, the shows are new every week, and every rehearsal is an adventure. I also wanted to meet many new people right away once I got to campus, and joining the “All-American” Marching Band afforded me that opportunity. I auditioned for the Purdue Wind Ensemble because I wanted that advanced concert band experience, and I absolutely love it. The people are great, the director is fantastic, and the music is just gorgeous.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band and Wind Ensemble?

I love that there are no music majors in my ensembles. There are no music majors at Purdue in general! This is so great because, when I was choosing a major before applying to schools, I knew that I wanted to keep music in my life as much as possible, but I was also totally in love with science and knew that was the career path I wanted to pursue. It was hard considering giving one up for the other, but here at Purdue, everyone can have both. Without music majors on campus, the spots in the top ensembles are open to any person of any major, and that means more opportunities for those who want to be involved but may not be making music their career. And the quality of the ensembles does not suffer at all – in fact, the Purdue Wind Ensemble is performing in Carnegie Hall this Spring. It’s so unique; I would hope everyone could take advantage of it here at Purdue.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

An amazing opportunity I have had in the department has been to travel with the “All-American” Marching Band to Medellin, Colombia this past summer, for half a week. I had never before been to South America, and it totally blew me away. We learned so much about the culture and the region of Antioquia; we interacted with local music students and ran sectionals with them; we performed countless times all around the city and surrounding mountainous areas; we even visited local flower farmers and got to march in the HUGE Festival of Flowers in the Medellin! The trip was magical. We contributed to their culture and atmosphere, and learned so much from the people there.


Loretta

Loretta Trezza

Major/Year: Junior studying Law and Society, with a minor in Forensics

Ensemble: Drum Major in the “All-American” Marching Band

Home State: New Jersey

Email: ltrezza@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I decided to join the “All-American” Marching Band because I strived to be in a Big Ten band and to experience what it was like to march snare on a massive drumline, as I marched snare drum my freshman year. I knew that the band could give me amazing opportunities in travel, performance, and leadership, and I wanted to be a part of it.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band?

The thing that I love most about the “All-American” Marching Band is the overall attitude. Every member in the band sincerely wants to be a part of something great, and they put every ounce of effort and joy into everything they do. The energy and excitement of the band is what makes me love being a Drum Major of the “All-American” Marching Band.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I have been given the opportunity to lead the “All-American” Marching Band as one of its Drum Majors through the Bands & Orchestras Department. I’ve learned more about myself as a leader and individual than I ever thought possible with this opportunity. I am so grateful for the friends I’ve made, the places I’ve travelled to, and the time I spend with this department.


Bailey

Bailey Sliger

Major/Year: Senior studying OLS and Spanish

Ensemble: Golduster Dance Team

Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana

Email: sligerb@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

There is absolutely no better feeling than having the opportunity to represent your school while doing what you love. The Golduster Dance Team gives me the opportunity to combine my passion for dance and my love for Purdue.

What do you love most about the Golduster Dance Team?

My favorite thing about the Golduster Dance Team is that once you are a part of it, you immediately have your best friends for the next four years. It truly is your home away from home. Getting to be around a group of girls who love dancing and Purdue as much as I do is an amazing feeling.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

Thus far, the most amazing opportunity I have had is getting the chance to travel to Medellín, Colombia in August of 2015. We were given so many incredible performances opportunities while we were there, but the interactions with the people there are something I will never forget.


Casie

Casie Blair

Major/Year: Junior studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Ensemble: French Horn in the Wind Ensemble

Hometown: Fishers, Indiana

Email: blair15@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

After playing in the Marching Band and Wind Ensemble all throughout high school, I still wanted to continue playing and improving my skills with the French Horn. Purdue Bands & Orchestras is the perfect place for people who have a passion for music, but are not planning to major in it (since Purdue does not have a music major). It is also an incredibly open atmosphere to learn even more about musicianship and enhance your playing ability.

What do you love most about the Wind Ensemble?

The Wind Ensemble provides challenging music and the exceptional leadership and instruction of Professor Gephart. I see it as the opportunity that one would not want to miss if they have a passion for music and for playing. As for time commitment, three classes a week is manageable and a refreshing break from major core classes.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

Purdue Bands & Orchestras has allowed me to continue my love for French Horn at the collegiate level. This program has also provided me the opportunity to perform in one of the most prestigious venues in the world, Carnegie Hall, in March 2016.


Olivia

Olivia Zugai

Major/Year: Junior studying Chemical Engineering

Ensemble: Silver Twin Feature Twirler

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Email: ozugai@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I decided to join the “All-American” Marching Band so that I would be able to continue to twirl baton while at college. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to represent a large university through twirling!

What do you love most about being a twirler?

I love having so many opportunities due to being a twirler in the Purdue marching band! I am able to twirl at football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball matches, wrestling matches and several community events because I am a twirler!

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

This past summer I was able to travel with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band to Medellin, Colombia, South America. I was able to twirl for the people of Medellin all while learning about a different culture in a different country! It was also the first time I had traveled outside of the United States!


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Aaron Yoder

Major/Year: Senior studying Management and Marketing

Ensemble: Trumpet in the “All-American” Marching Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble and Wind Ensemble

Hometown: Middlebury, Indiana

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I knew that wherever I went to college I didn’t want to give up music. It played such a big part in my life growing up and especially in high school. To stop playing trumpet altogether was not something I wanted to happen. Purdue Bands & Orchestras actually played a big role in my decision to attend Purdue University. I could pursue a business degree and explore different interests academically while continuing to develop musically as well. Even though Purdue does not have a music school, the ensembles still perform at a very high level. Knowing that I could continue to improve my musical abilities at a collegiate level, while meeting a ton of new people, was an awesome opportunity for me. Since joining I have met a lot amazing people and had some great experiences performing in pretty cool venues! It certainly has been a wonderful experience for me and I am thankful I decided to join.

What do you love most about the “All-American” Marching Band, AMRE and Wind Ensemble?

I have loved having the opportunity to perform with some very talented musicians in all ensembles. Knowing that everyone in the band is there purely because of their love for music is an awesome thing. All bands have been great groups for me to meet a lot of wonderful people as well. In my first weeks as a freshman at Purdue I already had new friends I could relate to and hangout with throughout the week. The friendships I have made through these two bands have been so impactful in my time at Purdue. Not only are they fun to be with and get to know, but they are also extremely musically talented. This atmosphere has continued to challenge me in my playing abilities and has encouraged me to play at a high level in order to make some really incredible music with my friends. It is hard not to love the people in Purdue Bands & Orchestras, and performing with them has been so much fun.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

In October of 2015, I got to travel down to Indianapolis, Indiana with the “All-American” Marching Band as the halftime entertainment for the Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Although I had marched there before with my high school marching band, this performance was unlike any of those times before. Performing for a crowd of over 65,000 people was absolutely amazing! I never would have guessed that going to my first Colts game would mean being the halftime entertainment for it, but I am sure it is an experience I will never forget.


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Nikole Miller

Major/Year: Senior studying Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Ensemble: Golden Silks Color Guard and Winter Guard

Hometown: Brentwood, Tennessee

Email: mill1270@purdue.edu

Why did you decide to join Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

It was important for me to continue participating in band in college. I wanted to have excellent academics along with a great band program. I came up to Indiana to watch the winter guard perform at a Winter Guard International regional competition, and I thought they were fantastic. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a part of such a talented group.

What do you love most about the Golden Silks Color Guard and Winter Guard?

I love passion and cohesiveness of my section. We all put in hours of extra time outside of scheduled practice. Everyone always seems to be on the same page. Each person is not only there for the sport, but also for the people involved. The range of awesome personalities makes the darkest days seem a little bit brighter. We are not just a team. We are a family.

What is a great opportunity that you have had while in Purdue Bands & Orchestras?

I have had the honor of performing at finals at Winter Guard International two times with the Purdue Winter Guard. In 2014, we placed 15th internationally in the Independent A Class. In 2015, we moved up into 12th place. It is definitely a memorable experience, and it is something I am extremely proud of accomplishing. I am very privileged to be able to make strides in the performing arts world with an incredible group of people.

 

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