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Penn State Drum Major, Blue Band President Dance Together In Final THON

Blue Band drum major Jack Frisbie and Blue Band president Caleb Martin have been through a lot together as best friends.

They both made it into the Blue Band as freshmen and started a hammock club together. After graduating in May, they’ll start post-grad life in Baltimore together, but this weekend, they’re dancing in their final THON together.

As a Virginia native, Frisbie didn’t know anything about THON until his older brother, Jim, got involved. His sister-in-law, Brooke, was the one who convinced him to get involved in a committee. Both Brooke and Jim danced for the alumni interest group in THON 2019.

Frisbie’s THON involvement has varied over the last four years. He was part of a Dancer Relations committee during his first two years at Penn State and the OPPerations committee last year before joining Special Events for THON 2020.

Martin’s THON experience began prior to Penn State with his high school’s mini-THON in Pittsburgh. As a freshman, he also joined a Dancer Relations committee before taking a step back for the last two years to help with the Blue Band’s THON Explorers program. Martin wanted to prioritize getting involved in THON again. After hearing that Frisbie wanted to dance this year, Martin was all in to dance alongside his friend.

Both Frisbie and Martin’s faith factors into why both of them THON. Frisbie also dances for the kids who come to THON each year and one THON child in particular seen wearing a Blue Band uniform in the Angels Among Us video during Family Hour. For Martin, he believes THON embodies the University’s slogan.

“[THON is] the representation of who we are as students at Penn State,'” Martin said. “We are living into this higher calling. It’s more than just going to class, it’s more than just running around the HUB with your friends or in our case, marching around a field. It’s this idea that we can set aside everything else in our lives and come together to show the world what it means to say ‘We Are, Penn State.'”

Preparing to dance for 46 hours takes not only a lot of physical preparation — but also mental preparation. Frisbie and Martin have gone in with the same focused mindset that they’ve gone into Saturday home football games with while also keeping their spirits positive.

“We’re going to have that locked-in mentality of, ‘We can get through this weekend,” Frisbie said. “We can push through and give all of it our best and, at the end of the day after it’s all said and done, have nothing left.'”

Although THON 2020 is their last as Penn State students, both Frisbie and Martin plan to stay involved with organization after graduation — whether it’s donating to IDCs or through the alumni interest group. They want to give back to create special moments for potential dancers.

As THON weekend’s 46 hours soon comes to a close, Frisbie wants to remember that the dancing experience doesn’t even compare to what the Four Diamonds Children have to endure. Martin said that THON serves as a reminder for why he gives back.

“This is like a final touchpoint with Penn State before going out into the world,” Martin said. “[…] I’m hoping that this [weekend] is another tool in that toolbox to remind me that this University has give so much to [me] and to remember to give back.”

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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