There are many things that I hold dear from my time at Penn State. Friendships that will last a lifetime, a degree I am proud to hang on my wall, and experiences that I would not have found anywhere else. At the very top of that list, however, are my four seasons as a member of the Penn State Marching Blue Band. Without those four years, I doubt many of the other things that mean so much to me would have ever happened.
Today, the Blue Band is asking for my help, and the help of the entire Penn State community. The band has long been fortunate enough to be supported financially by the Department of Athletics, College of Arts and Architecture, and the School of Music. In addition, the Floating LIONS Club has provided an avenue for additional support for the entire Penn State Bands program. But never has there been a reliable source of dependable funding. That changes today.
Through the generosity of 1982 Blue Band alumni David Uhazie and Lori Bowers Uhazie, the Blue Band Legacy Fund has been established to secure the long term financial needs of the Blue Band.
I caught up with Blue Band Director Gregory Drane to discuss the goals for this new endowment, and how it will tangibly impact the band. Because of the current system of funding, the Blue Band finds itself very reliant on annual fundraising, primarily through the Floating LIONS Club. This new endowed fund will not take the place of that, but will provide reliable, and more importantly, permanent funding.
One of the most common questions I am asked is "why the band does not travel as much as many of the SEC bands, or Ohio State in the Big Ten?" While Happy Valley's geographic location is an obstacle to more consistent travel, the money generated through the Legacy Fund will have an impact on the band program's travel budget. Additionally, the maintenance needs of hundreds of instruments will be covered.
Students are also asked to share some of the financial aspects as members of the Blue Band. For example, when I was a student, we made a contribution that was intended to cover uniform and instrument maintenance. The goal is to use this endowment to alleviate at least some of that burden.
The band program has also grown significantly in recent years. Not only has the Blue Band grown to 310 members, but the Athletic Bands program has grown to over 200 students that support the Nittany Lions basketball, volleyball, hockey, and other programs.
So, how do you support the Blue Band through this new Legacy Fund? It's easy. Just click here. As part of Penn State's #GivingTuesday, the Uhazie family will match all gifts up to a total of $10,000.00. This special program applies only to today. If you are able, please make sure to contribute to make your gift go as far as possible. Make sure to check out all these amazing Penn State organizations participating in today's #GivingTuesday efforts as well.
When you talk to most any Penn State fan, the Blue Band is among the most important aspects of not just the Nittany Lion football experience, but the Penn State experience as a whole. Whether it be our fight songs, alma mater, or another rendition of "Hey Baby", the music and energy of the Blue Band is a central part of the Penn State experience.
Please take a moment to offer whatever support you can to this great organization that means so much to me, and the entire Penn State community.