Penn State dedicates Blue Band Building

University Park, Pa. -- The Blue Band Building, which houses the band's first indoor practice facility, was dedicated during ceremonies on Sunday, Oct. 24. The building is located at the corner of Services Road and University Drive, adjacent to the Blue Band practice field on the Penn State University Park campus.

Construction of the building, which opened in August, began in October 2003. The structure includes a 6,000-square-foot indoor rehearsal room, plus instrument and uniform storage space, archival space to showcase Blue Band memorabilia, locker rooms and staff offices. The Blue Band previously operated from staff offices located in the Music Building, and equipment was stored in trailers located on the edge of the practice field.

According to Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, a Blue Band performance is a "perfect Penn State experience. Few other groups can quiet a crowd of nearly 100,000 people to a hush, bring them to their feet in a deafening cheer or lead them to raise their voices in song … In preserving cherished school songs and adding to this repertoire, the band knits generations of students and alumni together."

Speakers at the dedication ceremony included Spanier, Board of Trustees Chair Cynthia A. Baldwin, College of Arts and Architecture Dean Richard Durst, Director of Athletics Tim Curley and Ted Thompson, grandson of Wilfred O. "Tommy" Thompson, first director of the Blue Band.

The $5 million building was constructed using University funds and private donations. The Penn State Alumni Association contributed a third of a million dollars, in addition to giving an additional dollar for every $2 donated by alumni.

Nearly 10,000 Penn State students have participated in the Blue Band since its inception in 1899 as a six-member drum and bugle corps. The current band roster includes approximately 300 students, including instrumentalists and bandfront.

For photos of the building in use, visit

The Blue Band silks did some last-minute work on their routine for Saturday's game in the practice room. Until this year, they had no dedicated indoor practice space. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 18, 2010