03/20/13 The Purdue All-American Marching Band spent Spring Break last week touring Ireland. 331 members of the band made the historic trip, which marked the first time the iconic 91 year old Big Bass Drum has been taken overseas. The trip to Ireland was arranged because the band was invited to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin on March 17, 2013, after appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2010.
Band members and over 175 parents, alumni and faculty visited such sites as the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, and the historic towns of Galway, Killarney, Limerick, Adare, Kilkenny, and Cork.
The band staged a special performance at Kilkenny Castle, where they were welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Kilkenny. The Lord Mayor led the band out of the castle courtyard and down the street where they played traditional Purdue songs and popular favorites. The concert concluded with the Lord Mayor conducting “Hail Purdue”.
The tour ended in Dublin where the band was the honored last band of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to perform. The band delighted the crowd of almost half a million with its fun marching style all along the two-mile parade route. The parade in Ireland’s capitol city is the largest in the country. “Once again, the Purdue ‘All-American’ Marching Band finds itself in a place of honor in one of the world’s great parades,” said Jay Gephart, Director of Bands at Purdue University, “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.”
Three former Plymouth High School Band students were able to participate in the event. Stephen Boener (trumpet), son of Mike and Cindy Boener, Doug Booth (trumpet) , son of Robert Booth and Sandy and Dirk Dodson, and Mae Christiansen (piccolo), daughter of Melissa and Mark Christiansen.
Photo 1, The Purdue Band in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Photo 2, Mae at Blarney Castle
Photo 3, The band performing in Kilkenny (Mae is on the left hand side)
Photo 4, Mae and a little boy holding her piccolo in Kilkenny after the performance
Photo 5, Stephen Boener at the Cliffs of Moher