The NAMM Show’s Fernand L. Petiot All-Industry Marching Band to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in Anaheim

Historic group to be joined by ‘Get a Life Marching Band’ to Open 2010 NAMM Show

November 24, 2009

The year was 1970 and it was a very different music products world filled with its own unique challenges. And it was during this year that a daring group of NAMM Members began what would become a 40-year-tradition by picking up and playing musical instruments and engaging in a “Grand March to the Exposition” to open The 1970 NAMM Show.

And as a part of that grand tradition, the group enjoyed drinking Bloody Marys at their morning rehearsals and thus, in 1976, this all-industry band became known as the Fernand L. Petiot Marching Band after Mr. Petiot, who is credited with the invention of this famous drink. Over the years, many celebrities have led this famous band including, Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson and Bobby Shew.

Today, the Fernand L. Petiot Marching Band still proudly opens the NAMM Show with all of the passion and energy envisioned by its forefathers so many years ago. Participation in this unique band is open to all NAMM Members. Petiot Band members gather to rehearse in the morning of the show’s first day using instruments on loan from various exhibitors’ booths. The band then quickly runs through the music and marches into the Anaheim Convention Center lobby before parading through the exhibit halls.

This year, marks the 40th anniversary of the Petiot Band and NAMM is planning to celebrate the occasion with the help of another group of adult musicians, Portland Oregon’s own “Get a Life Marching Band.”

Founded in 1994 by former school band members Bob Pulido and John Lind, “Get A Life” is an all-adult band whose members have three things in common according to the group’s Web site: They were all in high school or college marching bands, they still haven’t gotten over it and they would rather miss a note than a meal.  This band of young-at-heart seniors has performed at many prestigious events including the Rose Parade and President Obama’s Inauguration.

“Playing at the NAMM Show is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of us,” said Lind. “We are so grateful for all of things that NAMM has done to foster a positive environment for music making in the United States and we just want to give a little something back to this passionate community.”

Giving back through time and talent is something that Larry Linkin, past president/CEO of NAMM knows about. Link, a professional clarinet player in his retirement, happily leads the Petiot Band each year at the NAMM Show.

“The Petiot Band is one of our industry’s great traditions that gives us identity and reminds us all why we’re here,” said Link.

Four decades after Link and Bob Schmitt named the band while partaking in Bloody Marys, Bob’s son, Tom Schmitt, still upholds many traditions from his family and he will be at the front of the parade this year as NAMM’s new chairman.

“My Dad believed in having a band of NAMM Members playing music together, marching and opening the NAMM Show with conviction,” said Schmitt.          

The 40th anniversary celebration performance of the Fernand L. Petiot All-Industry Marching Band along with special guests the “Get a Life” Marching Band will take place to open the 2010 NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 14, 2010, at 10 a.m. PST.