Hitting the High Notes

The Blue Band drum major sees himself as serving the band, helping amazing talent to keep getting better.

Now in his second season as the front-flipping, mace-wielding leader of the Blue Band, senior Jimmy Frisbie skillfully juggles his high-profile position with his responsibilities as a high-achieving Schreyer Honors College Scholar.  

An immunology and infectious diseases major in the College of Agricultural Sciences with plans for medical school, Frisbie's roots run deep in the band with his parents, grandfather and uncle all wearing the Blue Band blues. 

The Nittany Lion mascot and the drum major, Jimmy Frisbee, stand facing the football field

View from the end zone

The Nittany Lion and Blue Band Drum Major Jimmy Frisbie take a serious look at the situation from the end zone.

Image: Annemarie Mountz


“I never dreamed of becoming drum major; I just wanted to make the band. I thought [making the band] was the biggest dream possible.”—Jimmy Frisbie

Frisbie has his own philosophy of leadership and teamwork. “The drum major has a unique position where, instead of leading the band, he can serve the band,” he said. “I’ll have my little spotlight, but I want to spotlight the band, I want to make the band better. I think that the coolest part of being drum major is that you actually have the influence to make that happen.”

Blue Band

We love a parade

At away games or home, the Blue Band is out in the community performing during football weekends. Here, band members belt out a song as they march on Eutaw Street at Oriole Park, Camden Yards, to M&T Bank Stadium.

Image: Annemarie Mountz


“It’s so fun to conduct such a large group with so many talented musicians.”—Jimmy Frisbie


The Blue Band marches down a street lined by a crowd as Jimmy Frisbie shakes hands with young fans

Greeting Blue Band fans

The Blue Band marches in parades and for many events. Drum major Jimmy Frisbie takes those opportunities to greet fans of all ages. 

Image: Annemarie Mountz


"It's definitely an adrenaline rush." —Jimmy Frisbie


Molly Barron talks with Jimmy Frisbie as he prepares to direct the Blue Band in a fight song

Conference in the stands

Drum major Jimmy Frisbie takes time for a chat with Molly Barron as Blue Band members work from their seats during a game. 

Image: Annemarie Mountz

Image at top of page: Annemarie Mountz


Blue Band ranked in top 20 "great college marching bands"

Penn State's Blue Band is one of the greats, with honors earned year after year for its achievements. A recent ranking has been added to the list of accolades: The band has been ranked in the top 20 of Great Value Colleges' "35 Great College Marching Bands" for 2016.

"We were particularly impressed by the band's unique appearances, like at Fashion Week and within Vogue," judges' comments stated, referring to activities the band has done to promote Penn State above and beyond the already-immeasurable time spent carrying out typical responsibilities. 

Great Value Colleges highlights various aspects of colleges and universities that offer the most return on a student's investment in education, according to its website.

The ranked bands receive points for a number of criteria, including: notable awards and recognition from other sources; history-related performances or background significance; addition recognition, such as a viral video performance; and affordability.