June 19, 2013
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Tradition will redefine itself this fall, when a major pep rally featuring the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band, first-year head football coach Darrell Hazell and the Boilermaker football players becomes a pregame tradition in Mackey Arena.
This event replaces, and expands upon, the band's traditional Slayter Hill concert.
The "211 Session" promises to add tremendous excitement to game day as fans will hear from Coach Hazell and the football squad prior to each 2013 home game. Hazel, Purdue Athletics and "All-American" Band Director Jay Gephart started exploring new game-day possibilities as soon as Hazell arrived in West Lafayette, and all committed to the idea of producing a dramatic concert and rally in Mackey. It is designed to make a personal connection with fans and intensify spirit before kickoff.
Fans will need to be at Mackey by 9:45 a.m. prior to the Indiana State game on Sept. 7, which is also Band Day, to be involved in the inaugural rally. Kickoff is at noon. The coach and team will arrive at Mackey at 10 a.m. For all other games, the program will begin 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
Purdue's drumline will be on the floor of Mackey, and the entire 360-member band will come through the Mackey tunnel to join them for the Purdue Fanfare. The cheerleaders, Purdue Pete and other spirit elements will be integrally involved.
"The impact of this change will be tremendous for the band as it will draw hundreds, even thousands, of additional fans to our pregame concert that never made it to Slayter Center," Gephart says. "It is nice to know traditions like Slayter can be flexible and transform into something even more special."
Because Slayter occupies a special spot in the hearts of band members and band alums, Gephart and his staff have decided to move the postgame concert from the Hovde Hall Fountain to Slayter Center.
"The view from the steps of Hovde Hall has become so limited that few got to really enjoy the concert," Gephart says. "Last season, we didn't perform many fountain concerts because of inclement weather and darkness. Moving these programs to Slayter will change that and will help us maintain this valued tradition."
A long-time tradition called the drum major breakdown will continue to be part of the postgame concern at Slayter Center.