Band Name: Purple Marching Machine
Band Director: Willie Snipes Jr.
University President: Dr. George T. French, Jr.
Location: Fairfield, AL
Mr. Iva “Bossman” Williams started the Miles College Band Program in 1949 with thirty-five members. Mr. Williams was a graduate of Alabama A&M College in Normal, Alabama. The musical organization consisted of a marching band, which performed at football games and parades; the Collegians, which performed at dances and other social events; and the Concert Band, which gave Campus concerts. Mr. Williams served as Band Director at Miles College until his retirement in 1970.
Mr. Joe Terrell assumed the position as band Director from 1970 until 1975, when the College Administration discontinued the football program. Although the football program was later reinstated, the band program remained dormant from 1975 until 1996. Attempts were made to reestablish the band program during that time with a local high school band director serving part-time. In July of 1996, Mr. Arthur Means, Jr. came to Miles College with thirty-seven years of experience as a high school band director. Mr. Means was faced with the challenge of building a quality band for the first football game in August of 1996. The task was monumental, but the goal was achieved.
In 1996, the band performed for President William “Bill” Clinton’s Campaign Rally at Birmingham Southern College. The “Purple Marching Machine” has received raves for its half-time performances and was selected to perform during half-time at the Inaugural Pioneer Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Band membership has grown to over 200 members. One of the largest and most active organizations on campus, the “Purple Marching Machine” performs for more than 100,000 people annually, and provides the spirit, pride, and enthusiasm that are a valuable part of Miles College. The Band’s high-energy approach to football entertainment, combining exciting drills, dynamic dance routines with the quality playing of sizzling arrangements, creates excitement at every performance. The “Purple Marching Machine” has performed as an exhibition band for many Marching Band Festivals, and in October 2000, performed in Atlanta, Georgia in the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities Band Extravaganza. The “Purple Marching Machine” performed in the 2002 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Willie Snipes, Jr. is the current band director of the Purple Marching Machine. He has spent the last five years as the Assistant Director of bands at Miles but has a distinguished career that precluded his ascension with the PMM.