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Rocky performance at Airband 2024

Airband Tradition Celebrates 40 Years

  • By: Frank Smith
  • Published:
students performing on stage in Airband

On April 20, Taylor University hosted Airband for the 40th year running. With well over 300 students participating and hundreds in the audience, Airband is one of Taylor’s most memorable and highly anticipated events of the year.

At its core, Airband is a lip-syncing contest, complete with fully choreographed dances, a band, and a full audio mix. With 13 different acts this year, Airband 2024 was one to remember and the memories made by the students involved will last a lifetime.

Airband Over Time

In the early 1980s, Airband arose as a new tradition at Taylor. Current Chief of Campus Police Jeff Wallace was among some of the original Airband participants back in 1984. At that time, students often danced to one song, with more emphasis on the story and band than the choreography. 

Airband 1987

Today, each act comprises fully choreographed groups of 10-60 students from their respective brother/sister residence hall wings. Airband is an incredibly social event, with students recruiting their wingmates and sibling wing friends and practicing for months in advance, all in hopes of the treasured Airband victory.

Airband 1990

With two different showtimes, there are two opportunities for the hard work of students to be rewarded with a win, but in the rare case of a dominant act, a group may win both shows (the most recent group being “Nascar” in 2023).

Over the last 40 years, some acts have risen to the top, being known as the best acts of all time. The Greatest Showman in 2018 is one of those. With over 1 million views on Youtube and similar views on different social media platforms, this act won both shows and has been the highest standard for Airband shows ever since.

Airband 2003

Originally, Airband was a regional competition hosted by Taylor and welcomed acts from other colleges to take home a traveling trophy. As other schools gave up their traditions of Airband, the tradition faltered, and the regional competition died. But Taylor didn’t give it up, and with more participation than ever before, Airband isn’t going anywhere. 

Movie Theater Theme

Inter-Class Council (ICC) hosts Airband and selects a theme. ICC president Emily Johnson said the goal was “to feel like a movie premier, packaged as an experience.” The theme this year was the movie theater, complete with popcorn and classic red and white colors. 

Johnson said that the most challenging aspect of producing Airband is keeping it fresh and new. “The most difficult aspect is balancing the tradition of the event with the changing times,” she said. “ICC is familiar with what makes Airband, Airband; we try to hold onto those elements without becoming numb to the adjustments it needs to stay relevant to the student body.”

ICC began months in advance prepping Airband and working towards making the experience as enjoyable as possible. 

“The individual acts, commercials, and emcees create the atmosphere,” Johnson explains. With thousands of students, faculty, alumni, and community members in attendance, the Airband atmosphere was electric.

Airband 2013

The Performance

In 2024, Airband was bigger and better than ever. With basketball tosses, flips, cartwheels, and stunts implemented in each act, the choreography wowed the audience more and more.

With the theme of a movie experience, emcees Trent Repass and Sam Spiegel played off popular characters and celebrities, making jokes and tying in stories to the acts that were performing.

The first show at 6 pm, known as “the parents” show, was won by 3rd West Wengatz and 2nd East Olson with their act, “Monsters Inc.” With Pixar’s classic characters, doors, and exterminators, their props and story stole the show, recreating the famous movie from 2001. 

Airband 2024

The second, more boisterous show at 9 pm filled Rediger Auditorium with current students and alumni, some of whom had lined up over two hours in advance to find good seats for the show. This show was won by Penthouse (fourth floor of Samuel Morris Hall), 2nd English, and 4th Bergwall, with their recreation of the iconic board game “Clue.” As their detectives sought to find the killer through synchronized dance, the students and judges were won over, leading to a first-place finish.

Airband 2024

Visit Taylor

Airband is one of Taylor’s most unique and iconic moments each year. In addition, however, many more traditions and experiences exist here for students and visitors alike. Request more information here or schedule your Taylor visit to see more of campus.