On September 15, the Griffith Marching Panthers paid their annual visit to Purdue University in West Lafayette for Purdue Band Day, where the university’s All-American Marching Band played with high school marching bands from all over Indiana at the halftime show. The Marching Panthers rehearsed with the All-American Marching Band, attended their pregame “Thrill on the Hill” celebration, and performed three songs during halftime: “All Star”, “Shake A Tail Feather”, and “American Fanfare.”
The event is an annual tradition for students, but this year was Band Director Virginia Hernandez’s first Purdue Band Day.
“It was a really great opportunity for all of the high schools involved, especially the smaller ones like ours, to play with a large college band,” said Hernandez. “It’s a great sway for them to see how you can continue with your instrument beyond high school, because all of those people in the college marching band are not music majors, they just want to be in the music program.”
Hernandez said that they would definitely return next year.
The students left the school at 11:30 a.m. Central time on a bus loaded with instruments, uniforms, and water bottles. After a three hour drive, the band disembarked, dressed in their bibbers (marching band overalls), to practice the half-time show with the college marching band and other high school bands. The temperature was nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a muggy afternoon, and extremely hot for the marchers.
After eating dinner, the band donned full uniforms- wool jackets, plumed shakos, and instruments to walk to Slayter Hill to watch the All American Marching Band entertain a crowd of fans, tailgaters, and students with a preview of the songs. Finally, they walked to the Ross-Ade Stadium, where they marched onto the field to play their three pieces then quickly paraded back to the stands.
“They [Purdue Band Program] were very organized, they gave me all the information I needed,” said Hernandez. “It was my first time ever going to one of these. I really appreciated having a host [guide] to show us around [the campus].”
GHS Symphonic Band, which includes all the Marching Panthers, will perform all three songs, as well as pieces from their own half-time show in their Sounds of the Stadium concert on October 14.