Penn State Blue Band Finds Newest Drum Major in 3-Year-Old
September 03, 2019 12:14 PM
by Ryen Gailey
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Most three-year-olds’ daily obsessions might include Play-Doh, “Paw Patrol,” and YouTube Kids videos on repeat. If you’re a child born into a Penn State family that bleeds Blue & White, though, you’re raised to go through years of Halloween costumes in the forms of Penn State football players, cheerleaders, and Nittany Lions.

Three-year-old Vincent Ciccarella. however, doesn’t dream about playing for James Franklin or being the next Nittany Lion. Instead, he dreams, practices, and lives to be the next Blue Band drum major.

His parents, LeeAnn and Joe Ciccarella, are both Penn State alumni. They met in 2003 when Joe was LeeAnn’s orientation leader and eventually married in 2007 at Eisenhower Chapel. When Vincent was a baby, they’d put Penn State YouTube videos on for him, beginning his obsession with marching bands before he could even walk or talk.

“He was instantly hooked,” said LeeAnn who had a Blue Band costume made for him as a gift when he was potty-trained. “This has been going on for years. He practices every day. He’s always doing his flips. The first opportunity he gets, he shows people how he can do his flips.”

Last Tuesday, in an attempt to make her son’s dream come true, LeeAnn posted a shot of him in a homemade Blue Band drum major outfit on a Penn State fan page. She had a simple request. She was hoping to find out the band’s schedule for this past Saturday’s game against Idaho, so Vincent could snag a photo with current drum major Jack Frisbie.

“I need your help. This is my son. He is 3, and he is the biggest fan of the Blue Band that you will ever meet,” she wrote in a Facebook post, never predicting her post could go viral.

“I expected one or two people to say where they march down,” she said. “But the next thing I know, I couldn’t even sleep. It was absolutely unbelievable.”

As so often happens when a Penn Staters asks for help, Nittany Nation was quick to respond. Every minute, comments came in with tips. Fans suggested people to talk to. And band members and their parents sent private messages about what the weekend would look like.

Photo courtesy of LeeAnn Ciccarella

PJ Mullen, Penn State Athletics director of marketing, caught wind of Vincent’s dream and got in contact directly with LeeAnn. Mullen told her to meet him behind the stage near the stadium for a day Vincent “will never forget”.

Sure enough, thanks to Mullen’s help and the outpouring from Penn State fans online, Vincent’s dream became a reality. He was able to march with the Blue Band, lead a “We Are” chant, meet Coach Franklin, and also do his very own flip on the field as he took a walk around the stadium before the game.

“As a Penn Stater, everybody knows it’s a tight-knit community and a family. It really is,” LeeAnn said. “You know that, but experiencing something like [Vincent’s day], it just kind of fulfills it because nothing like this would have been possible without the support from everybody.”


Photo courtesy of LeeAnn Ciccarella

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