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Home > News Briefs > Penn State Blue Band Documentary

Making The Blue Band documentary showcases Penn State Blue Band

Film airs on public television, also available on DVD

The Blue Band will be appearing in the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2009.

Penn State Blue Band UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — High school musicians across Pennsylvania dream of one day marching into Penn State's Beaver Stadium before a crowd of 107,000 screaming fans. Each year about 200 freshmen audition for the Penn State Marching Blue Band, but less than half make it. A documentary by Penn State Public Broadcasting (PSPB) takes viewers behind the scenes as students pursue their dream of playing for the celebrated college marching band.

Making the Blue Band follows eight incoming freshmen through auditions, cuts and the grueling days of band camp with the Penn State Blue Band. The one-hour documentary features students from across Pennsylvania as they audition for spots on trombone, trumpet, percussion, mellophone, clarinet, drum major, flag and majorette.

"I am very excited to have our band members profiled in this documentary," said Dr. Richard Bundy, director of the Penn State Blue Band. "The time and dedication these musicians give to the Blue Band really help them develop life lessons—in this case that they are part of something much bigger than themselves."

Filming the documentary brought back fond memories for Jeff Hughes, executive producer at PSPB and trombone player for the Blue Band between 1986 and 1987.

Making The Blue Band "Producing this film gave me an opportunity to combine my professional career with my passion—making music," said Hughes. "Most people don't realize that nine days before the first performance, there is no Blue Band roster. This documentary shows exactly what can be done in a short amount of time and follows hopefuls as they embark on a journey that stays with them the rest of their lives."

The Marching Blue Band has 310 members, including 260 instrumentalists, 34 silks, 14 Touch of Blue majorettes, a feature twirler and a drum major. Members come from virtually all curricula and colleges represented at the University Park campus of Penn State. The Blue Band has appeared at 33 bowl games, including multiple appearances in the Orange, Cotton, Sugar, Fiesta and Citrus Bowls. The band has performed at the Outback, Blockbuster, Holiday and Rose Bowls and for the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

The documentary began airing on Pennsylvania Public Television Network stations in November 2008 and has additional broadcasts scheduled throughout December and January. For upcoming air dates, check with your local PBS station within the Pennsylvania Public Television Network or visit

Funding for the production was provided in part by Clara "Pat" Lamade Robison, The Pennsylvania Public Television Network, The Penn State Alumni Association, and members of the Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association.

Making the Blue Band is available on DVD through Penn State Media Sales for $24.95 plus shipping and handling. It can be ordered online at or by calling 800-770-2111.

View a 5-minute promo excerpt from Making The Blue Band

Penn State Public Broadcasting (PSPB) serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. This public media service produces, acquires and distributes programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Penn State Public Broadcasting is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

Text and images courtesy of the Penn State News and Public Information office. Band photo by Annemarie Mountz.

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.

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