It was the “BRRPPPPBBBBBBBB” sound that blasts from a trumpet—“so appealing to a 5th grader”— that got Donny Allen hooked on music.

Today, as the director of the Marching Knights and the Jammin’ Knights, it is music’s power to inspire and connect that keeps him playing his passionate tune. “94% of our band members are non-music majors,” Allen shared. “The bands provide a bridge to connect kids socially.”

And under Allen’s careful direction, the band’s performances connect the crowd of Knights fans. His weeks are filled with plans, rehearsals, and practice, practice, practice. So that come game day, every note of the playful and pulse-pounding tunes will motivate fans in the stands to “Turn up the Radios” and move the Knights on the field to “Reach for the Stars.”

“We play music that pushes and challenges us as performers. We’re also all about football and school spirit. Our performances stir up crowd participation and emotions.“