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Purple Band

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The Northwestern University Purple Band performs at athletic and special events in the Chicago area and across the nation. Comprised students from NUMB and NUBB, members of this auditioned ensemble earn a stipend of approximately $1,000. The total membership is limited to 31 members including two student conductors.

Membership Requirements

  • Members must be full-time students at Northwestern and full-time participants in NUMB and NUBB.
  • Members must successfully audition and interview annually with the Director of Athletic bands and members of the bands staff. Auditions consist of a prepared piece of the candidate's choice, possible sight-reading, optional improvisation, and 2-3 major scales.

Candidates' musicianship, demonstrated dedication to the Athletic Bands, instrumentation, and seniority are considered for annual selection. Final instrumentation will be determined by the Director of Athletic Bands when auditions are concluded.

Candidates are invited to audition on any marching instrument, and may additionally audition on electric bass, piano, and guitar as potential alternate instruments.

Performance Expectations

  • Participation in all scheduled performances is required. The schedule is provided to Purple Band members at the start of each quarter and will generally include not more than 5-6 performances in addition to regular football and basketball events and the spring football exhibition.
  • Travel to Big Ten Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments, as well as any post-season tournament, is required.
  • On occasion there may be a call for performances impossible to anticipate before the quarter begins. As much advance notice as possible will be provided in these situations.


Purple Band performances are conducted by the Director of Athletic Bands, designated graduate assistants, or assigned student conductors.

Daniel J. Farris, director

Contact Mr. Farris

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