In their first bowl game since 2011, the Nittany Lions were invited to play Boston College in the Pin Stripe Bowl Saturday, December 27. It was a special week for Nittany Lion and Blue Band fans. On Friday, the 26th senior kicker Sam Ficken, senior defensive end Brad Bars and senior defensive back Devin Pryor, joined coach James Franklin, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour and a contingent from Boston College to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. There were “We Are…” chants coming from the stock exchange floor which must have been a first.
Afterward the team visited the 9/11 Memorial. That night the Empire State Building lit the north and south sides in blue and white, while the east and west sides were lit in gold and maroon for Boston College. Sam Ficken even got to use Derek Jeter’s locker which many thought brought him luck.
The Blue Band accompanied the team to New York City and added another auspicious event to its history by performing for the first time at new Yankee Stadium. In front of a sell-out crowd of more than 49,000, the Blue Band wowed the large crowd with traditional precision marching and outstanding music playing.
The Boston College “Screaming Eagles” Marching Band took the field first for pregame and performed the National Anthem. Then they surprised everyone with a special tribute to retiring Blue Band director Dr. Bundy by spelling out BUNDY in formation on the field. The Pinstripe Bowl marks the final time Dr. Bundy led the Blue Band in a football game, and the tribute by the Boston College band was a classy and heartwarming gesture for all fans of the Blue Band and Penn State.
The Blue Band performed for the entire halftime. They marched onto the field in the traditional pre-game tunnel entrance, played the Nittany Lion through the downfield block, and moved to the PSU formation where they played one verse of the Alma Mater. Then after a scramble drill, the band switched to the usual halftime music.
As a tribute to Dr. Bundy’s last show the band selected musical arrangements by Dr. Bundy from years past. “A View to a Kill” from the James Bond film series was followed by a rousing rendition of “Happy Days are Here Again” and “You Make Me So Very Happy.” The closing song was the traditional Nittany Lion fight song played to the floating LIONS marching formation celebrating its 50th anniversary year. It was quite a thrill to see the PSU and LIONS formations in Yankee Stadium showcasing the Blue Band in the largest city in the country.
Those of us in attendance were very happy to see the Blue Band have a great show as usual and to provide Dr. Bundy with a performance fitting his long and successful tenure over 37 years as director, assistant director and student with the band. Oh, and in case you forgot…Penn State beat Boston College 31 to 30 in overtime.