Penn State University
ALUMNI Blue Band ASSOCIATION

  • 28 Nov 2022 7:01 PM | Anonymous

    Dear ABBA,

    We want to thank you for all of your support during the Dream Forward campaign that wrapped up in the beginning of November to celebrate 100 days until THON 2023! We had a successful fundraising campaign and are extremely grateful for your donations and support. There will be more matching opportunities in the coming weeks. On Tuesday, November 29th, Band Together would like to invite you to participate in Giving Tuesday! Once again, starting at 8am, every third donation up to $100 will be matched 1:1 until funds run out. There will also be a specific alumni matching hour, which should be communicated to alumni by THON directly. Please use the link below to donate! We thank you in advance for your support on Giving Tuesday. https://donate.thon.org/?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=3015

    November was a busy but successful month for our organization. We look to get more involved with our families this year, and we were pleased to be able to put together family mail for our families. In addition to sending cards, we packed up some PSU accessories and notes to send before the Maryland game. Since our families are often unable to make a trip to University Park to be with us, we wanted to send them something that made them feel like they could be there with us. We are grateful for the opportunity to support our families in any way we can. 

    In November we also hosted our annual fundraiser called “Coin Wars,” where members compete by rank in the band to raise money for THON. For each rank, members can donate coins that count towards their total, but other ranks can sabotage them by placing bills in another rank’s container. In past years, this fundraiser was successful, but we never imagined how successful it was going to be this year. We raised over $700 in coins and bills combined, all of which is donated directly to THON. It was a lot of fun to watch people interact and engage with this 3 week long fundraiser. 


    After an emotional senior day and our last day in Beaver Stadium for the season, a group of 15 Blue Band and Band Together members got together to participate in the recycling clean up efforts in Beaver Stadium. It was great to spend time together. We want to thank the Sustainability Institute at Penn State for this opportunity.


    It was a great month, but now we are looking forward to the upcoming Winter Break and the few months left leading up to THON 2023! We have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goals, but we are off to an incredible start. Thank you for your continued support of Band Together Benefitting THON!

    Sincerely,

    Justin Kim & Katie Baker

    2022-2023 Band Together Co-Overall Chairs



  • 30 Oct 2022 8:45 PM | Anonymous

    Dear ABBA, 

    The year is fast underway, and we are off to a great start for fundraising for THON 2023. After holding a few general meetings, we have gotten our members set up in Donor Drive and we have also been more involved in the broader THON crediting opportunities. Soon, we will be holding our annual Coin Wars Benefitting THON and selling Blue Band Calendars. We hope to hold more events in November when the semester starts to wind down. 

    With that, we would like to tell you a bit about our families for this year. We have been placed with two families this year: the Kayla Nakonechni family and the Dami Schmehl family. Kayla was a Penn State student and, after being diagnosed with cancer after dancing in THON, she graduated college and sadly passed away on October 14, 2015. We celebrated her with a Purple Out at Blue Band, since her favorite color was purple. Dami Schmehl was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012, but last year she was told that it is unlikely that it will ever return. We hope to support both of our families by sending cards, care packages, and even potentially visiting them!

    We hope to begin building a community within our organization and getting more involved together. We would like to raise the importance of our family relations chairs, as the job they do is very important. We want to remain focused on our families. We recently had the whole band sign a card that was then sent to the Nakonechni family. These are the types of things we hope to be able to do for THON families. Although fundraising is one of the most important parts of THON, we hope to also provide kids and families special opportunities here at Penn State. We have agreed to participate in the THON Explorer’s program. This will hopefully allow us to give THON families an opportunity to explore Penn State outside of the BJC during THON weekend. We hope to provide them with a meaningful and lasting experience from the Blue Band family. 

    We would like to invite you to fundraise with us by sharing the Blue Band’s DonorDrive page with you. Using this link, you can donate directly to Blue Band Benefitting THON. Please note that your donation is benefitting THON through Blue Band’s organization. Thank you for your continued support of Band Together Benefitting THON!

    Sincerely, 

    Justin Kim & Katie Baker

    2022-2023 Band Together Co-Overall Chairs



  • 31 Aug 2022 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    October 21-22, 20Join us this October as we celebrate Penn State Homecoming with the Alumni Blue Band!

    Registration will open on Tuesday, September 6th at 7:00am EST and will close Wednesday, September 21st at 11:59pm EST. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any registrations after this cut-off date.

    The cost to participate in Homecoming this year, including your ticket for the Homecoming football game, will be $115 per person.

    Be sure to add homecoming@psualumnibands.org to your address book to avoid important communications going to your "Spam" or "Junk Mail" folder!

    IMPORTANT REMINDER:

    With the transition to the Penn State Alumni Association’s new unified membership model, you no longer need to renew your membership in the Alumni Blue Band Association in order to be eligible to participate in Homecoming. Access to ABBA communications and events is now included in your Alumni Association membership! Visit the Alumni Association for more information about this change.

    Not a member of the Penn State Alumni Association? Click here to learn more about all the benefits you’re missing!

    NEW FOR HOMECOMING 2022:

    We are excited to make your Homecoming experience even better this year with these enhancements! More details will be shared regarding each of these changes in the near future.

    Post Parade Reception - New Location!

    We are excited to bring our traditional post-parade reception closer to the end of the parade route this year! We will gather at the Music Building’s Esber Rehearsal Hall following the parade, just a short walk from the Nittany Lion Shrine. Come see the School of Music’s beautiful new space, enjoy some refreshments, and catch up with your fellow Blue Band alumni! 

    Keep Your Folio!

    The Homecoming Committee is furthering its efforts to be more sustainable, decrease cost, and reduce the burden on our volunteers and the Blue Band staff. This year, you will keep your music and folio at the end of Homecoming weekend. (That's right: no more tracking down plastic bins on the field at postgame!) Bring your folio back for Homecoming next year and get a discount on your registration! 

      New to Homecoming? Haven’t marched in a while? Need a refresher?

      For those who are new to ABBA, or just haven’t back back for Homecoming in a while, read on to learn about all the events you can participate in throughout the weekend! 

      What does my registration include? 

      • Game ticket (please note that due to capacity constraints, only confirmed Homecoming participants will be permitted in the Alumni Blue Band seating area: family and friends will need to secure tickets elsewhere in the stadium)

      • Opportunity to participate in the Homecoming parade

      • Opportunity to participate in the Ice Cream Social

      • Friday night post-parade reception

      • Transportation between the O. Richard Bundy Blue Band Building and Holuba Hall on Saturday morning

      • Pregame rehearsal at Holuba Hall led by Director of Athletic Bands Dr. Greg Drane

      • Instrument rentals for certain sections (NOTE: instruments cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability - only sousaphones, baritones, mellophones, and percussion will be available)

      • Use of equipment for band front members

      • Music folios and drill charts

      • A contribution to the Penn State athletic bands program on behalf of each participant

      • The opportunity to "relive the glory days", reconnect with fellow Blue Band alumni and friends, make new connections with alumni and current Blue Band students, and take the field during pregame and halftime of the Homecoming game

      What do the Homecoming weekend events entail?

      Hintz Family Alumni Center Ice Cream Social Pep Band

      The Alumni Association kicks off Homecoming activities on Friday afternoon with its annual ice cream social at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. This event takes place in the afternoon. ABBA participants play one or two sets for the crowd, and get to enjoy free Berkey Creamery ice cream and socialize.

      Homecoming Parade

      Relive the magic of marching down College Ave as the crowds cheer in this time-honored Penn State tradition on Friday night. Uniform is blue shirt/jacket and jeans, and we play the traditional Penn State fight songs throughout the parade route (music will be provided to those who need it).

      Post-Parade Social

      After marching in the parade, make your way over to the Music Building and join us for a reception in the Esber Rehearsal Hall. Enjoy the School of Music’s beautiful space, enjoy some refreshments, and catch up with your fellow Blue Band alumni.

      Rehearsal at Holuba Hall (Time TBD)

      Meet at Holuba Hall on Saturday morning to rehearse. Run through music, and learn the pregame and halftime drills.

      Game Day (Kickoff 7:30PM ET)

      Join us in Beaver Stadium as we take the field for pregame, halftime, and postgame! Play some of your favorite stands tunes and enjoy being together with your Blue Band family. Uniform is a white shirt/sweatshirt/jacket. Game tickets and field credentials are provided during rehearsal at Holuba Hall.

      Do I have to participate in everything?

      No! You are welcome to participate in as much or as little of Homecoming weekend as you like. If you want to participate in the game, you MUST pay the full registration fee and attend the Saturday rehearsal at Holuba to receive your game ticket and field credentials. This includes individuals who wish to join the Alumni Band and play from the stands, but not necessarily take the field for pregame, halftime, or postgame.

      Those who do NOT want to participate in the game, and only want to march in the parade and/or play at the ice cream social, do NOT need to pay the registration fee. More info will be provided in the upcoming registration email.

       

      QUESTIONS?

      Please keep in mind that the committee is still in the early phases of planning this year's event, and details are subject to change. We will do our best to communicate any changes as soon as possible. At this time, we do not have details or information regarding guest tickets or game day parking. We are also awaiting confirmation of game day rehearsal timing and will communicate those plans as soon as we are able.

      If you have any other questions, please contact the Homecoming committee.

      We look forward to seeing you at Homecoming 2022! 

      Raise the Song!

      Mark Poblete, Homecoming Co-Chairperson

      Carol Poblete, Homecoming Co-Chairperson and Volunteer Coordinator

      Randy Seely, ABBA President

       

      COVID-19 Risk Acknowledgement:

      The Pennsylvania State University requires adherence to its policies at all times while on Penn State property or attending University events. Penn State has issued rules and precautions which follow, or may in some cases exceed, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By registering to participate in Homecoming weekend activities with the Alumni Blue Band Association, you agree to adhere to such guidance and policies, you acknowledge the risk of being exposed to or infected by COVID-19, and you assume any and all such risk.

      As of July 7, 2022, this guidance includes basic health, safety, and sanitation measures (staying home when sick, washing/sanitizing hands often, etc.) in addition to wearing a face mask while in healthcare facilities and certain research facilities and labs.

      Per CDC guidance, Penn State may impose additional or alternative requirements, including masking at certain locations, depending on community spread in Centre County and at the University Park campus. You agree to comply with any directive from Penn State representatives regarding masking or other mitigation measures while participating in any events hosted by the Alumni Blue Band Association on campus.

      You must adhere to these protocols regardless of vaccination status.


    • 31 Aug 2022 8:08 AM | Anonymous

      Dr. Dick Bundy introduces a man who needed no introduction to Marching Blue Band members from the early 70s: Dr. Ned C. Deihl, Deihl is the Director who designed The Floating LIONS. To his left is wife Janette.

      By CURT HARLER

      A half-century ago, Dr. O. Richard Bundy was marching with a trombone. He became the assistant in the Marching Blue Band. Later, he became Director. This year, he came up with a wonderful idea: invite back to an informal reunion all of those who marched in the 1967-1973 era.

      The event drew a slew of alums on June 18. Some attended as part of the 50th We Are… Class Reunion Weekend. Others just showed up to see old friends, to swap stories and memories. All were treated to big-screen videos of the 1968-72 Blue Band on the field. Everyone pointed to themselves in the block. Due to the age of the films (yes, it was film back in the day, now converted to DVD), there was no sound. But, darn, we all looked good and hit our marks!



      Trombone players Tom Little, foreground; Alan Wood in blue sweater; and Dr. Bundy in suit coat admire the performance trombones available to today’s Blue Band members. Musicians also are assigned practice horns. Back in the day, it was BYO instrument. Today, even the mouthpieces on both the lower and upper brass are uniform.

      Recent grads should note that the women in the photos here are spouses…back then there were no women in the Marching Blue Band. In fact, 120 male musicians took the field to perform in front of sell-out crowds of 50,000 fans at Beaver Stadium. The Blue Band did an on-field heart transplant (to “The Beat Goes On”) and even “kicked” a football as part of a drill. There were Gator Bowl, Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl trips. There were stories of Dr. Jim Dunlop threatening to shave, with a dry razor, anyone who showed up with facial hair or hair that touched their collar.


      John Rumancik, clarinet, reminisces about his era in the Blue Band. In the background, video of a 1971 Marching Blue Band’s halftime show plays.

      In addition to the camaraderie of the event, attendees were treated to a full tour of the Blue Band Building. We saw the beautiful suites of performance and practice instruments available to today’s Blue Band. We got a look behind the scenes at the offices and locker rooms. We were regaled by Dr. Bundy with the history of the Blue Band and saw the original cornet owned by George H. Deike. That instrument was hanging on Deike’s dorm room in 1899 when it was noticed by a ROTC officer who asked him to play at drills…the original on-field performances by Penn State musicians. The rest, as they say, is history. Those who marched 50-55 years ago were gratified to recount their roles in that history and to know the legacy is being passed along a half-century after they came out of the tunnel.

      Sadly, there were no chocolate chip cookies distributed on reunion day at the Blue Band Building. Otherwise it was a wonderful event. Cheers to Dr. Bundy and to the alums who participated.


      The Marching Blue Band is now housed is a great facility, the O. Richard Bundy Blue Band Building. Over the years, the Blue Band sheltered big instruments in a semi-trailer. Practices were on open fields…rain or shine, snow or missed dining hall hours.





    • 31 Aug 2022 8:03 AM | Anonymous

      By Curt Harler

      The Alumni Blue Band’s 4th Annual “Fore the Glory” golf outing was a rousing success (if one forgets the bogeys recorded by certain golfers!).

      The outing raised $7,000 for the Blue Band Legacy Fund, according to event co-chair Doug Czekaj. In the four years the outing has been held golfers made contributions totaling over $47,000 to the Blue Band Legacy Fund.

      “Fortunately, we had nice weather for this year’s event, even if it was slightly windy for golf,” Doug says.


      The Penn State Golf Course staff again did a wonderful job hosting the event on the Blue Course and at the Pavilion.

      There were 71 golfers on the links and another 10 people joined the festivities just for dinner following the golf activities.

      “We appreciate Blue Band Director Greg Drane, the current Blue Band members, and the Alumni volunteers who helped to make the day of the event so successful,” Doug says.

      Dr. Drane is equally thankful. “It is absolutely awesome that the event was re-formed post-Covid,” he says. “The Blue Band is very grateful for the support we get from the alums.” As the tradition is reinstated, both attendance and the support for the Blue Band should increase.


      Below is a list of the winners of the various prizes at Fore the Glory:

      1st Place Foursome: Peter Sides, Jason Sandonato, Brad Eargle, Gabriel Wagaman (Score of 59)

      2nd Place Foursome: David Uhazie, Lori Uhazie, Ken Duke, Jane Duke (Score of 62)

      Most Honest Golfers: Michael Kirk, Robert Meade, Joshua Tonkel, Anthony Stem

      Men’s Longest Drive: Jason Sandonato

      Women’s Longest Drive: Sydney Eckert

      Closest to the Pin Winners:  Hole 8 - Rick Miller (10' 3") and Hole 17 - Rick Miller (17' 5")


      The event supports the Blue Band Legacy Fund. A complete program outlined the history of the tournament, the story of the Legacy Fund, listed all the participants and the sponsors of the event.

      The ABBA Golf Committee is run by Randy Seely, Brett Butler, Josh Helsley, Matt Wagner and Doug Czekaj.

      “We are so thankful for all of our sponsors of the event, without whom our event would not be as successful,” Doug concludes.



    • 31 Aug 2022 7:59 AM | Anonymous

      BY CURT HARLER

      The Blue Band is headed to Auburn, Alabama for the huge Big10-SEC showdown on September 17 as the Auburn Tigers take on our Nittany Lions. This is not just a road trip, not just an overnight trip…the Blue Band will spend two full nights in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the festivities.

      The first day will have a recruiting flavor as the Blue Band performs for high school musicians in the Atlanta area. The next day, they will bus 100 miles Southwest down I-85 to Auburn for the game. 

      “The athletic department was extremely supportive about us going,” says Dr. Greg Drane, director of athletic bands. It helped that Coach James Franklin was outspoken about wanting the Blue Band there to support the team as the Nittany Lions invade SEC country.

      The Blue Band’s halftime show on the natural Bermudagrass turf at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium will feature Latin music. And there is no doubt that the expected 87,500 fans will be rocking. Not quite as exciting is the bill Dr. Drane anticipates receiving as a result of the Blue Band’s travel expenses. “It will be a significant cost to go to Auburn,” he notes. Donations to the Blue Band to support the trip are appreciated.


      HOMECOMING NEWS

      For ABBA members, Homecoming is the red-letter (blue-and-white letter?) date on each year’s calendar. This year’s Homecoming performance will feature a twist. Look for both the Blue Band and the Alumni Blue Band to share the field for the halftime show. 

      While the norm has been for ABBA to perform after the Blue Band does its seven minutes at halftime, this time the Homecoming crowd will be treated to the full impact of both bands shaking the stands in unison. And did you recall that the October 22 homecoming game against Minnesota is a White Out?

      One of the reasons a joint show is possible is the digital drill software which both bands will have access to at Homecoming (the Blue Band has it every week). The software simplifies charting and makes it easier for both ABBA and regular band members to find their marks. Eventually, ABBA also will get its music digitally, downloadable to cell phones. ABBA will need to get special lyres for cell phones. The Blue Band has them now.

      Back to current events, the Blue Band’s season will start with them storming out of the tunnel for the 2022 home opener September 10 against Ohio University. Look for the normal complement of 305-320 musicians to be high-stepping in Beaver Stadium. The music theme at the OU game will be Blockbuster Hits, featuring show tunes from the best of recent movies.



    • 8 Dec 2021 5:31 AM | Anonymous

      By Randy Seely

      ABBA President

      After the year that many of us have had, I’m not sure that reviewing the year is in our best interest. On the other hand, there were a lot of positives this year, and maybe as we look back, these are the things that will stand out.

      At the beginning of 2021, the board was looking at a few serious issues. Our membership was declining, our technology platform was not meeting our needs, and it appeared at the time that we would not be participating in Homecoming once again.

      However, as the year progressed, we started to see some improvements in all these areas. Our technology committee (thanks Becky Burley, Doug Czekaj, and Mark Poblete) began an investigation into new platforms. We were able to find one that suits our organization much better, allowing us to bring what once was a conglomeration of different platforms under one umbrella. Special thanks also to Jon Ford for his help in assisting with this transition.

      We also got word that we would be able to participate in Homecoming. Although this would look very different than in past years, we began planning for the event. Julia Stack and her committee once again planned for a Virtual 5K to support the Blue Band Legacy Fund. And once the new platform was operational and our membership saw that there would indeed be a Homecoming this year, our membership numbers improved. Homecoming itself was very different than it has been in year’s past, but with the reduced number of participants and other protocols that were in place, the event was conducted as safely as it could be. Special thanks to all who helped volunteer, especially the Homecoming Committee – Mark and Carol Poblete, Julia Stack, and Johanna Steinbacher. The committee wanted me to note that we appreciated all of the feedback, and are already in discussions to improve the experience for next year.

      As the year now draws to a close, despite all the challenges, we managed to end the year on a positive note. Between the Virtual 5K and our Homecoming donation, we were able to contribute over $32,000 to the Blue Band Legacy Fund.

      We have begun planning for next year’s Fore the Blue Band Golf Tournament, sadly missed the last two years. (Save the date – June 18, 2022!) Our hope for the next year is that we will be able to continue to grow as an organization and provide our membership with more opportunities to get together as we return to what we believe will be a greater sense of normalcy. 

    • 8 Dec 2021 5:29 AM | Anonymous

      By Randy Seely

      ABBA President

      Each year, the Alumni Blue Band Association holds elections for seats on our Board of Directors. This year, there are a total of seven seats up for election. We have four incumbent board members who have expressed interest in remaining on the board, but a few others will be stepping down. I would personally like to thank Casey Hesse, Lee Shaw, and Tom Range for the time they have spent working for ABBA. Their efforts are varied, but all have had an impact in one way or another.

      If you are interested in serving on the board, please reach out to Kevin Sabolcik and the elections committee at elections@psualumnibands.org by December 21.

      In your email, please include

      ·       the years you were in the Blue Band

      ·       instrument/position

      ·       degrees earned

      ·       current residence

      ·       any relevant ABBA/other alumni group experience

      ·       a short write-up on why you are seeking a seat on the Board.

       The Board meets approximately four times a year, which we have been doing virtually, so you do not need to physically be present in State College.

      There is the additional opportunity to be involved in one of our committees, but no requirement to do so. It is the Board’s goal to have diversity within our representation – particularly with regards to graduation years.

      Additionally, we are still looking for someone to step in as treasurer to replace Doug Czekaj. This person will need some accounting experience and be familiar with generally accepted accounting procedures.

      We will be conducting the election at the beginning of January, with the hope to have our new members seated at our (virtual) board meeting Sunday, January 23, 2022.


    • 7 Aug 2021 6:37 PM | Anonymous

      By Curt Harler

      The Blue Band will hire a new Assistant Director in the near future. The search process for the position should start shortly.

      Meantime, the Blue Band plans to add three new graduate assistants. Two will be from the Conducting Studio and one will be a percussion student instructor. The two conducting spots will be a combined effort with the new Director of Concert Bands, allowing the positions to be leveraged across both programs.

      The percussion position is in cooperation with the School of Music and will provide a graduate student to assist with the drumline.


    Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association

    101 Blue Band Building

    University Park, PA 16802

    membership@psualumnibands.org

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