Penn State University


PSU Blue Band Traditions

Originally formed as a six-member drum and bugle corps, Penn State’s Blue Band has grown to include 310 members made up of 260 instrumentalists, 34 silks, 14 majorettes, a feature twirler and a drum major. The modestly sized band was started in 1899 by George Deike, a Penn State student at the time. Two years later, Penn State College Board of Trustees member Andrew Carnegie made a donation allowing for the addition of a brass band.

However, the marching band, whose name is now so recognizable, was not always blue. In its early days, the group wore military-style khaki uniforms and was known simply as the College Band. In 1923, a few blue uniforms were purchased and issued to a select number of members based on their ability and rank in the band. These members were chosen to represent Penn State as its official traveling band, earning them the title of the Blue Band.

Needless to say, the name stuck. Today, every member of the band proudly dons a blue uniform; the majorettes are known as Touch of Blue, and even the featured twirler is lovingly referred to as the Blue Sapphire.