As the Purdue football team and marching band head to Notre Dame this weekend for their Saturday afternoon showdown, a special member of the Boilermakers team will be absent: the 100-year-old Big Bass Drum from the band.
This will be the first time since 1979 that the drummer has not accompanied the band in a performance.
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Purdue last played Notre Dame in 2012, but since then, Notre Dame has stopped allowing visiting bands to use the main entrance to Notre Dame Stadium. So why can’t Purdue just carry the drum through the newly created visitor entrance? Well the drum is the “largest drum in the world” at 7 feet 3 inches in diameter and 3 feet 9 inches wide. That is too big for the entrance.
Forget the press boxes and new seats: the small, narrow and uncomfortable visitor tunnel is undoubtedly the best part of the recent renovations of the Notre Stadium. Instead of rushing out of the main tunnel, opponents have to cautiously exit this architectural masterpiece. https://t.co/VzCuHzJYWP pic.twitter.com/841iF5wV35
– Ms. Mike Palmer, CSC (@mppcsc) September 16, 2021
Another problem is that Notre Dame no longer allows visiting bands other than halftime performances on the field, so Purdue is unable to do its typical tour of the field before the game.
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The Purdue marching band appeared upset by the decision on Twitter. It was especially difficult for the band as this is the centenary year of the drum and the team and fans have been used to hearing it for generations.
Other critics on Twitter wondered why Notre Dame would be so picky about having a drum in its field, especially since it’s such a well-known Purdue tradition. Others questioned whether there could be another way to make the drum fit through a tunnel, or even if it could be dropped by a helicopter (this option seems less likely).
You’d think one or two engineers would figure out how to get it inside the stadium. Maybe a helicopter?
– mike kerry (@BadgerMike) September 16, 2021
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With or without the drum, unranked Purdue is a seven-point underdog to the No. 12-ranked Irishman heading into the first meeting between the two Indiana teams since 2014. One thing’s for sure: the stadium will be a lot quieter than it has been. usual before the game, even with the fans in the stands.