sealPurdue News

September 6, 2002

Purdue's Band Day pays tribute to the American spirit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – At football games across the nation on Saturday, Sept. 14, marching bands, including Purdue's "All-American" Band, will commemorate 9/11 with patriotic programs.

"All-American Band Day" will bring 1,500 musicians from 24 high school bands to Ross-Ade Stadium's field for a massed band show at halftime of the Western Michigan game. "American Treasures" serves the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band's theme for the entire 2002 football season, and Band Day offers a special salute to the American spirit through classical, rock and patriotic music.

Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" will serve as the opener for the massed band program. Next, the bands play the Grand Funk rock anthem "We're an American Band."

David A. Leppla, director of the "All-American" Band, says "We're An American Band" is one of his favorite selections.

"That tune spent 13 weeks at No. 1 in 1973, and, in some respects, it could almost be our theme song today," Leppla says.

The Band Day program concludes with "America the Beautiful" in an arrangement by Carmen Dragon, director of the Hollywood Bowl.

"It's a very showy version," Leppla says.

Every year, Band Day offers high school musicians the chance to feel the thrill of performing in a college stadium packed with 60,000-plus screaming fans. David Barber, director of the Attica Red Rambler Marching Band, calls it an opportunity his band can't pass up.

"Just the aura of the day, and being able to perform with so many different bands in front of more people than they'll see all season … it's a great thing for them," Barber says.

M.T. "Mo" Trout, director of jazz studies at Purdue, will be guest conductor for Band Day. All of the high school bands have received musical scores in advance, and they will assemble for a Saturday morning rehearsal prior to the game to put the show together under Trout's direction.

Often the musical arrangements challenge the high school musicians. Barber sees this as a plus.

"It gives them the opportunity to be intertwined with the Purdue band and see face-to-face what they do," Barber says. "The kids are looking forward to it, and it's fun for me as a director because I have the chance to sit back, listen and watch."

As part of the commemorative activities at the Western Michigan game, a military fly-over is planned for the pregame flag ceremonies, which also include the presentation of "I Am An American," a Purdue Band tradition dating to the 1960s. Since the 9/11 attacks copies, requests for the words and permission to present "I Am An American" have come in from all over the United States and from Purdue alumni abroad. Astronaut Jerry Ross, a Purdue alum, even took it into outer space in April.

Leppla says that this year, with "All-American" Band Day falling in the 9/11 commemorative week, participation in the event will be particularly special. He says Band Day is always a much anticipated event for high school band participants.

"It's an exciting opportunity for Indiana bands to participate in a major music event that does not involve the negative aspects of competition," Leppla says. "They come here, and they don't have to worry about who takes home the trophy. That's what music is all about – sharing, not competing."

In addition to Ross-Ade performances, Band Day also includes a concert and pep rally led by the "All-American" Band at 11:30 a.m. at Slayter Center.


Attica High School Red Rambler Marching Band, Attica; David Barber, director.

Benton Central High School Band, Oxford; Shirley M. Robertson, director.

Bloomfield High School Marching Cardinals, Bloomfield; Trent Tilford, director.

Carroll High School Marching Cougars, Flora; Jessica Rankin, director.

Churubusco High School Marching Pride, Churubusco; Mark Cheshier, director.

Columbia City High School Golden Eagles, Columbia City; Stan Roth, director.

Delphi High School Band, Delphi; Mark Fridenmaker, director.

Harrison High School Militia Band, West Lafayette; Steve Cotton, director.

Hobart High School "Pride of Hobart," Hobart; Tam Trutwin, director.

Kankakee Valley High School Kougar Marching Band, Wheatfield; Kenneth L. Steidle, director.

McCutcheon High School Pride of McCutcheon, Lafayette; Brian Shaw, director.

New Prairie High School Marching Cougars, New Carlisle; Mark Belsaas, director.

North Central High School Marching Panther Band, Indianapolis; Charles Kunz, director.

North Judson-San Pierre High School Marching Bluejays, North Judson; Matthew Hibbets, director.

North Vermillion High School Marching Falcons, Cayuga; Jeanne Hershberger, director.

Peru High School Marching Tiger Band, Peru; Diane Haley, director.

Rushville Consolidated High School Roarin' Regiment, Rushville; T. R. Campbell, director.

Seeger High School "Patriot Band," West Lebanon; George W. Peterson, director.

Shenandoah High School Raider Band, Middletown; Cathy Marshall, director.

Sheridan High School Blackhawk Band and Guard, Sheridan; Cheri Brightman, director.

Tipton High School Blue Devil Marching Band, Tipton; Rodney D. Fletcher, director.

West Central High School Trojan Band, Francesville; Michelle Lane, director.

Westview High School Warrior Band, Topeka; Mike Brown, director.

Wheeler High School Bearcat Band, Valparaiso; Brian S. Grenier, director.

CONTACT: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Media interested in interviews should contact Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, at (765) 496-6785.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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