Purdue unveils revived world's largest drum

September 6, 2013  

Big bass drum crew

The Purdue "All American Band's" big bass drum will perform at Saturday's football game. It will be the drum's first game appearance since spending the summer receiving a hardware renovation. A Purdue mechanical engineer custom-crafted replacements for the 92-year-old hardware. (Purdue University photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Bands' big bass drum will make its 2013 debut Saturday (Sept. 7) when the Boilermaker football team hosts Indiana State University at noon.

Built 92 years ago in Elkhart, Ind., the Boilermakers' "World's Largest Drum" is a Purdue icon. But it has not had hardware serviced since the 1970s. After nine decades of hard use and extensive travel that has seen the band perform at hundreds of games and such venues as Dublin, Ireland's St. Patrick's Day Parade, New York's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Pasadena's Rose Bowl Parade, the drum needed new hardware to tighten it back up and eliminate a few rattles.

Private machinists wanted upwards of $20,000 to craft new parts. That costly proposition was avoided thanks to Mike Sherwood, a school-spirited expert machinist in Purdue's School of Mechanical Engineering who donated his time this summer honing the raw materials Purdue Bands purchased.

The drum once again is as tight as the day it was built and has a new set of custom heads. The exterior also was freshened, including an application of a gleaming array of silver diamonds.

The drum will perform at the game, which will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The band also will perform at a pregame pep rally at Mackey Arena beginning at 9:45 a.m. and at a post-game concert on Slayter Hill. A special presentation will occur at the game.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu

Sources: Susan Xioufarido, 765-418-5545, susanx@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: B-Roll and soundbites are available for download and use at ftp://news69.uns.purdue.edu/Public/BandsDrums/. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296 or jschenke@purdue,edu

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