Therese and Mark Eutsler have been named recipients of the 2020 “Block P” Award for their outstanding service to Purdue University Bands & Orchestras according to Jay S. Gephart, the Al G. Wright Chair and Director of Bands and Orchestras and current president of the American Bandmasters Association. The Department of Bands and Orchestras music faculty and staff choose recipients.
The award recognizes individuals who were not previously members of the department. The Eutslers’ names will appear on a plaque in the bands and orchestras office with past recipients, including Purdue President Steven Beering, Athletic Director Morgan Burke, Head Football Coach Joe Tiller and former Indianapolis Motor Speedway Board Chair and CEO Tony George.
The Eutslers have volunteered with the IPL 500 Festival Parade since 1993 (in which the Purdue University All-American Marching Band has appeared since the parade’s inception in 1957), Purdue Band Day at Ross-Ade Stadium since 1995, and the Indy 500 Parade of Bands, coordinated by Purdue University Bands, since 1999. They are administrators of the Music Arrangement Trust, founded by Dr. Bill Moffit, the third director of the All-American Marching Band.
In 1988, they collaborated with State Rep. Sheila Klinker to introduce a legislative resolution naming Moffit Indiana Music Arranger Laureate, the first position of its kind in the United States, a position he held until his passing in 2008.
In 1994, as board members of the John T. Conner Center for East/West Reconciliation, they formed an alliance between the US Department of State, the Embassy of the Russian Federation, and Purdue University Bands to have Moffit arrange the newly adopted Russian National Anthem that they distributed to government leaders across Russia on a three-week trip aboard the Trans-Siberian Express.
Therese is an accomplished church organist and pianist whose experience includes service to music ministries in several throughout Indiana, providing accompaniment and facilitating hymn singing, liturgy, and choral anthems. Her experience includes lectionary-based and non-lectionary worship planning. In the Lutheran Orthodox Church, she has played for ordination masses at the invitation of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mid America. She studied privately with Mary Jane Habig in Jasper, a member of the family that founded Kimball International, which manufactured organs. She has continued professional development in hymnody with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
Mark is co-chair of the nationally televised IPL 500 Festival Parade and a former Director of Bands and Music Department Chair at McCutcheon High School. He is an adjunct professor in the Indiana Wesleyan University College of Adult and Professional Studies program where he teaches music appreciation and music history courses. He is an inaugural recipient of the Signature Sinfonian Award presented by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, served as Trustee of the Sinfonia Educational Foundation, and is an honorary member of Lambda Lambda chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national band service fraternity at Indiana State University. He was selected to guest conduct with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during the 500 Festival Family Pops Concert in 1998.
The “Block P” award is named after the Purdue All-American Marching Band’s iconic letter formation. Rochester, Indiana, native Paul Spotts Emrick, who was named the band’s first director (1905–1954), while a sophomore at Purdue, saw a flock of geese flying in a V formation. He figured that if birds could form a letter in the air, then certainly his fellow college students could form a letter on the football field. The initial Block P, formed when the band “broke military ranks” on the field in 1907, is believed to be the nation’s first.