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Blue Band To Represent Penn State, Perform For Fresh Ears At TaxSlayer Bowl

What’s a Penn State football game without the Blue Band? Fortunately, fans attending the TaxSlayer Bowl won’t have to find out.

The Blue Band began its journey to hype up the football team and the crowd on Wednesday for the January 2 bowl game against Georgia. And this isn’t the band’s first postseason rodeo — in its 116-year history, it has performed at every major U.S. bowl game.

Unlike the football players, who flew to Jacksonville first class, the best band in the nation is on a bus right now. Although this seems somewhat unfair, Blue Band President Patrick Burke is too thrilled to perform for a new audience and maintain sacred Penn State traditions to pay it much mind.

“I’m really excited to represent Penn State and the Blue Band to thousands of people that have never seen or heard us before,” Burke said. “We will do everything we can to make that impression a strong and positive one.” 

Among the thousands of fresh ears are local high school band students, who will attend the Blue Band’s open rehearsal at Atlantic Coast High School on January 1. As eager as Burke is to play for an untapped audience, he’s dedicated to the Penn State-specific experience.

“The bowl game atmosphere is definitely different than a typical game. From the Blue Band’s perspective, it’s our job to create the home-field advantage,” he said. “Penn State fans and alumni always do a phenomenal job of traveling to see the team, and we want to connect [them] to the team and traditions of a Penn State football game in Beaver Stadium.”

First-year Blue Band Director and Florida native Greg Drane is looking forward to his homecoming. “I’m really excited about this opportunity to return to my home state with the Blue Band. Performing at the TaxSlayer Bowl is the perfect way to conclude my first season as director,” Drane said.

Prior to the game, the Blue Band will perform in a Penn State pep rally on January 1 at 1:30 p.m. at Jacksonville Landing in downtown Jacksonville and a pregame tailgate at 10:30 a.m. before kickoff. During the game, the band will take EverBank Field for an abbreviated version of the Floating Lions routine for its pregame performance, then a halftime show called “We Own the Night.”

“I can’t think of a better way to bring in the new year,” Burke said of supporting Penn State football alongside the Lionettes and Penn State cheerleaders.

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About the Author

Sara Civian

Sara Civian is one of Onward State's three ridiculously good looking managing editors, a hockey writer at heart, and an Oxford comma Stan. She's a senior majoring in journalism, minoring in history, and living at Bill Pickle's Tap Room. Her favorite pastimes are telling people she's from Boston, watching the Bruins, and meticulously dissecting the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. She's seen Third Eye Blind live 14 times. If you really hate yourself, you can follow her at @SaraCivian or email her at [email protected]

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