'All-American' Band takes Purdue pride to Ireland, March 10-18

February 21, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Black and gold goes green this March when the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band visits Ireland to participate in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

For the first time, the 91-year-old Big Bass Drum will travel abroad. Even though the marching band has made appearances in locations from China and Japan to Venezuela and The Netherlands, the drum has never accompanied the band because of the challenging logistics of its size and weight.

The travel party of one drum, 300 band members and more than 200 family members and band boosters leave Indiana on March 10 for a week of sight-seeing in the Emerald Isle. The trip, which climaxes with the band's march through Dublin in the March 17 St. Patrick's Day Parade, coincides with Purdue's spring break.

After the band was picked to lead the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2010, an invitation to Dublin was inevitable, says Jay Gephart, the "All-American" Band's director. He's excited because the band will be the last element in the annual parade and will punctuate Ireland's most famous day.

"Once again, the Purdue 'All-American' Marching Band finds itself in a place of honor in one of the world's great parades," he said. "What a wonderful opportunity we have to represent Purdue, our state and nation in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. To serve as the exclamation mark in one of the most entertaining events in the world is more than an honor. We are very humbled."

To kick off the trip, the public is invited to a celebration at Nine Irish Brothers on March 3. Both the West Lafayette and Lafayette locations of the restaurant will donate 10 percent of their proceeds that day to Purdue Bands & Orchestra's travel fund, and representatives will be at the restaurants from noon to 8 p.m. There will be Irish music and giveaways. The Big Bass Drum will appear at each location, as will Purdue's twirlers, led by Golden Girl and Miss Indiana MerrieBeth Cox.

The trip itinerary allows students to experience a wide swath of Irish culture:

* March 10: Students depart from Indianapolis on charter flight. Adults bus to Chicago for commercial flight.

* March 11: Arrival at Shannon, Ireland and travel to Galway. Panoramic city tour and free time there.

* March 12: Cliffs of Mohr, Burren National Park, Bunratty Castle with medieval banquet.

* March 13: Travel to Killarney via picturesque village of Adare and the Ring of Kerry.

* March 14: Tour of Cork, Blarney Castle, Blarney Woolen Mills and free time.

* March 15: Visit  Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny, Kilkenny Castle. Travel to Dublin.

* March 16:  Dublin city tour, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse.

* March 17: St. Patrick's Day Parade.

To see pictures of the trip as it progresses, friend Purdue Bands & Orchestras on Facebook.

Contact: Kathy Matter, 765-496-6785, kcmatter@purdue.edu

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