Drop! Step! Kneel!
If they were being honest, those are the three words most Blue Band students dread. During pregame, after forming the iconic "PSU" logo, any member performing in his or her final game in Beaver Stadium will remain standing, while their peers drop their instruments, step forward, and kneel. It's a fitting salute to those students that have devoted their time, talent, and passion to Penn State.
This Saturday, there will be one additional thank you, and farewell. For the last time, Dr. O. Richard Bundy will lead the Blue Band in Beaver Stadium. He will be retiring at the end of the school year next spring. As many of you know from reading my posts here at BSD, or previously at Victory Bell Rings, I am a proud alumnus of the Blue Band, performing with the group from 2001-2004. To say those 4 football seasons gave me some of the best experiences of my life would be a gross understatement. There are very few people on this planet that can say they got to do what they love, in front of over 100,000 people, for a few dozen Saturdays. I count people I met my first day on campus back in 2001 as some of my closest friends to this day.
That all sounds terribly self serving, but more than anything else, it is that camaraderie fostered through the band that is the greatest testament to what Dr. B has meant to the Blue Band, and to Penn State as a whole. To hear him speak about Penn State, and the band, is to understand that as a member of the Blue Band, you have become a part of something much bigger than yourself, your friends, or even the band. You have become, in a sense, Penn State, and that is something truly special.
They say leadership and greatness comes out during the tough times. No one will dispute the challenges Penn State has faced in the last 36 months. For me, my fellow band alumni, and the PSU community as a whole, I truly believe that the Blue Band, and Dr. Bundy have been one of the shining lights of what is great about our University. 300+ students coming together as one, for the glory of Old State. That is the mark that Dr. Bundy is going to leave on our great University. Hundreds of young men and women, from every background you can imagine, coming together as one, to support something so much bigger than themselves.
There are not enough words to adequately thank a man that has meant so much to me, my fellow band alumni, and truly, Penn State as a whole. When you stand to recognize those band members performing in their final Penn State home game, give a moment to the man that leads them.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Dr. Bundy.