It's the dream of aspiring
high school musicians.

High school musicians across Pennsylvania dream of one day marching into Beaver Stadium before 107,000 screaming fans.

Each year more than 200 freshmen audition for the Penn State Blue Band; less than half make it.

Find out what it takes
to make the band.

Most people know what goes into preparing the Nittany Lion football team to take the field each week, but what does it take to make the Penn State Blue Band?

This one-hour documentary follows eight incoming freshmen through audtions, cuts, and the grueling days of band camp as they pursue their dream.

Find out who has what it takes to make one of the nation's premier college marching bands.

Download Blue Band Wallpaper

Join the Blue Band Network

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   Watch the Trailer

Comments

December 4, 2008, 11:18 pm

Bill Garguilo

What a wonderful production! Of course it doesn't hurt that my sons Stephen and Christopher Garguilo are the stars! LOL Just kidding, but "Making the Blue Band" was so well done. A real tribute not only to the current band but to all who have gone before them. Congratulations!

December 5, 2008, 9:30 pm

Diane Walker Chambers

The documentary brought back a lot of memories...hard work, pride and fun! I was a trombonist from 1980-1984. It was great seeing some fellow members from the years I was in and to see the daughter of one couple becoming a member now! Thanks for bringing back the memories and pride.

December 6, 2008, 8:37 pm

Sally Dressler

I have a comment about the BLue Band Book---Kathleen Brown & Lawrence Marynak were not the first Blue Band marriage! Charles Dressler & I were married in 1972 and we are a Blue Band couple and my sister, Barbara Bell married Leigh Cooper in 1964 and they were also a Blue Band couple!

April 8, 2009, 11:08 am

Mary

I LOVED IT !! I've watched it several times, and today I bought it for myself to watch again and again. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank You.

April 15, 2009, 7:20 am

Natalie Marinzel

Re: the trailer - I've been to many, many games and I love the Blue Band . . . but the trailer could use a few MORE scenes of the excitement you feel when the Band marches out on the field before each game and the "inner action" that "fires" thru the band DURING the games. The Band controls the crowd, without a doubt - let it show ! The Blue Band is the BEST - and a wonderful group of kidz.

April 16, 2009, 9:10 am

Bill Gerber

Nice! I'd have preferred a little more of the band and a little less of the testimonials. But, OK for a trailer. It looked as though the drum major almost didn't make the flip!

June 21, 2009, 3:08 pm

Tom Rishel

You need to update the broadcast times to include those on the Big Ten Network. We caught a showing today by accident.

The Penn State Blue Band

The Penn State Blue Band is recognized as one of the nation's finest college marching bands. The talented musicians perform to capacity crowds in the 107,282-seat Beaver Stadium—home of the Penn State Nittany Lion football team.

History

  • 1899 Six-member drum and bugle corps is initiated by a student.
  • 1901 Board of Trustees member donates money to form brass band.
  • 1913 The band is named the College Band.
  • 1914 Wilfred O. "Tommy" Thompson becomes the first permanent director.
  • 1923 New blue uniforms replace the brown military-style uniforms.
  • 1939-1996 The Blue Band gains recognition.
  • 1971 The first Drum Major "flip" was performed.
  • 2004 The Blue Band moves into its first permanent home.
  • 2005 The Blue Band is awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy.
  • 2005 Members of the band march in the Marc Jacobs fashion show in New York City.
  • 2008 Making the Blue Band airs on public television.

Tradition

  • The Blue Band has 310 members: 260 instrumentalists, 34 silks, 14 majorettes, a feature twirler, and a drum major.
  • The Blue Band is the largest recognized student organization at Penn State's University Park campus.
  • The Blue Band practices roughly nine hours per week.
  • Band members perform the high-step march on gamedays—the thigh is parallel to the ground, and the calf is perpendicular to the ground.
  • The Blue Band has performed in 33 bowl games.

Learn More

Find out more about the Penn State Blue Band.

blue band member blue band member blue band member blue band member

The "Blue Crew"

Making the Blue Band follows a small group of Blue Band "rookies" as they prepare to join the band.
They're called the "Blue Crew," and we thank them for allowing us to join their journey.

Matt Sabo, Drum Major

Delmont

Chris Garguilo, Trombone

Altoona

Eleanor Graham, Trombone

Saylorsburg

Jeremy Railing, Trumpet

Carlisle

Bryan Aument, Percussion

Lancaster

blue crew

The Filmmakers

Jeffrey A. Hughes
Executive Producer

Jeffrey A. Hughes is an executive producer for WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting. During his nearly twenty-year tenure with the organization, he has produced programming spanning a wide-range of genres—music, sports, documentary, and promotional, to name a few. His work on the series Music from Penn State was recently acknowledged with a Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Award nomination. Also, in 2003, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters presented an Award of Excellence for a video he produced for the Blue Band Building fundraising campaign.

Hughes' interest in the Penn State Blue Band originates from his time as a trombonist during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. He considers performing at the Fiesta Bowl during the 1986 national championship game to be the highlight of his college years.

Cole Cullen
Producer/Editor

Cole Cullen was a member of the Blue Band Drumline from 1992-1996 and Blue Band videographer in 1997. While a student in the band, he produced a number of Blue Band “Video Yearbooks.” In 1999, he produced Raise the Song, a documentary following the 100 years of the Blue Band’s history.


Before joining WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting in 2005, Cullen edited programs that aired on NBC, FOX, TLC, CourtTV, and HGTV. Cullen is the father of three future Blue Banders and is married to another Blue Band alumni, Kari Cullen.

Jeff Hughes Cole Cullen

The Funders

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this documentary possible.

Major Funding Provided by:

Clara "Pat" Lamade Robison
Penn State Alumni Association
Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association (ABBA)
Pennsylvania Public Television Network

Funding Provided by the Following Members
of the Alumni Blue Band Association:

(click to see funders)

  • Michael and Debora Alati
  • Randall and Deborah Baker
  • Arthur Belfiore
  • Phillip and Carrie Bower
  • Carl Brancke
  • Thomas and Nancy Burtnett
  • Megan Cain
  • Andrew and Kathleen Campbell
  • Jennifer Cawthra and Robert Peters
  • R. Lawrence Clark
  • Clay Conway
  • Gregory and Janet Coppola
  • Michael and Katharine Corvino
  • Wilbur and Beverly Creelman
  • Carl Dudeck, Jr.
  • Robert and Susan Edwards
  • Sheldon and Judy Ehret
  • Matthew and Kathryn Ekly
  • Michelle Evans
  • James and Hazel Fluke
  • Floyd Frisbie
  • Daniel and Ann Frisbie
  • Ray Garrett and Christa Stiner
  • Camille and Mark Gelfo
  • Richard and Jodi Gorodesky
  • Dawn and William Gregory
  • Chris and Andrea Groppe
  • Curtis and Marjorie Harler
  • Charles Harner
  • Scott and Amy Harris
  • Richard and Cindy Harro
  • David and Linda Henrich
  • John and Robyn Hoefling
  • William and Cathy Holloway
  • Marjorie Hoover
  • Shawna Hudson
  • David and Elizabeth Johnston
  • Christine and Philip Junker
  • Mary Beth and Kent Kester
  • Lynn Koehler
  • Matthew and Christine Kozsuch
  • Clair and Patricia Krone
  • Michael and Jody Kull
  • Ronald and Deanne Lewis
  • Christopher Luckenbill
  • Lori Master
  • Stephen and Sheryl McCamley
  • Allen and Kathleen McFall
  • John McGarrity
  • Neil McGovern and Jennifer Paul
  • Joseph and Teresa Mikelonis
  • Ed and Linda Ober
  • Sean Misko
  • David Pilgert
  • Jonathan Prine
  • Prudential Foundation
  • Wayne and Elaine Radcliffe
  • Tammie and David Ritter
  • Thomas Roberts
  • Charles Robey
  • Carson and Mary Ann Rothrock
  • Franklin and Karen Sabatini
  • Jill and Jason Schnader
  • Anne and David Shields
  • James and Lenal Shoff
  • Kelli and Shawn Sisler
  • Paul and Carolyn Steingard
  • Conrad Steinmann Jr.
  • Joseph and June Streamer
  • Jonathan and Linda Strumpf
  • Carl Suffredini and Nancy Davis
  • Caroline Sychterz
  • Robert and Elaine Trout
  • James and Geraldine Valone
  • Jeffrey and Cynthia VanLuvanee
  • Kathleen and Thomas Wickham
  • Alan and Judith Wood
  • Harold and Natalie Woomer
  • William E. Yoder, Sr.

Additional Funding Provided by:

(click to see funders)

  • Caran Aikens
  • Ruth Arthur
  • Back the Lions
  • Ruth Balthaser
  • Edward and Inga Book
  • Harold and Dolores Brake
  • Andrea Cotner and Edward Galus
  • Jean and Stuart Dance
  • Martin and Joan Duff
  • Angelo and Karen Fish
  • Patricia Fox
  • Les and Linda Hart
  • Charles Graham and Kristen Holzwarth
  • Jeffrey A. Hughes
  • Michael Knote and Karen Corrado-Knote
  • Dallas and Diane Krapf
  • John MacIndoe
  • Betty Mincemoyer
  • Dana Neil and Van Arvin/T's Custom Printing
  • John and Karen Purnell
  • Beryl and Robert Roach
  • J. Jennifer Roberts
  • Samuel and Joyce Shuman
  • Anna and James Smith
  • Gerald Stein
  • Bernard Swoyer
  • Anthony and Judy Valore, Jr.
  • Ray Walker
  • Louise Webb
  • Terry and Pat Williams
blue band member

Broadcast Times

WHYY/Philadelphia

Sunday

December 28

2:00 p.m.

Channel 2 Arts & Culture (click to see times)

Monday

December 8

4:00 p.m.

Tuesday

December 9

1:00 p.m.

Wednesday

December 10

9:00 a.m.

Wednesday

December 10

4:00 p.m.

Wednesday

December 10

7:00 p.m.

Thursday

December 11

11:00 a.m.

Thursday

December 11

11:00 p.m.

Friday

December 12

8:00 a.m.

Friday

December 12

7:00 p.m.

Saturday

December 13

12:00 a.m.

Saturday

December 13

7:00 a.m.

Sunday

December 14

2:00 p.m.

Tuesday

December 16

9:00 p.m.

Friday

December 19

6:00 a.m.

Friday

December 19

1:00 p.m.

Friday

December 19

5:00 p.m.

Saturday

December 20

12:00 a.m.

Saturday

December 20

9:00 p.m.

Sunday

December 28

11:00 p.m.

Go to WHYY

WITF/Harrisburg

Friday

December 26

8:30 p.m.

Sunday

December 28

6:00 p.m.

Sunday

December 28

12:00 a.m.

Go to WITF

WLVT/Bethlehem

Tuesday

November 4

8:00 p.m.

Sunday

November 16

7:00 p.m.

Tuesday

December 23

10:00 p.m.

Go to WLVT

WPSU/University Park

Wednesday

November 5

8:00 p.m.

Saturday

November 15

8:00 p.m.

Channel 3.1

Thursday

December 4

8:00 p.m.

 

Go to WPSU

Press Room

Press Release

[Download the PDF]

Logo

logo

[Download the .zip file]

Photo

blue band

[Download the .jpg photo] Credit Annemarie Mountz

DVD Case

blue band dvd case

[Download the .jpg photo]