Architecture Alum Hand-Carves Wood Panel Honoring Aggie Band
Hundreds of intricately carved elements created with patience and artistry over thousands of hours created a permanent legacy: a 4’x3’ walnut and mahogany wood relief sculpture honoring the 125th anniversary of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. The panel was crafted by Mikeual Perritt ’69, a former College of Architecture student and band member.
Displayed proudly and prominently behind protective glass in the new John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center, the sculpture showcases historical aspects of the band and personal experiences shared by its members. It contains hundreds of marching band members in its world-famous halftime block T formation, ornate shields and insignia throughout the band’s history, and thousands of hand-carved letters telling its story.
Perritt started woodworking in his childhood, making little wood boats to float down a stream near his home. In the 1980s, he started cutting festive designs into blocks, then inking and printing his own Christmas cards.
“It evolved from flat wood blocks into adding relief and some small full figure carvings,” Perritt said. “I eventually got rid of the ink and started to do the embossing only.”
After researching the band’s history and crowdsourcing design ideas from his class and other band members, the design was finalized in 2015. The frame was assembled in 2016, and carving began in June 2017.
Perritt spent 18 months working up to 11 hours a day, seven days a week with “very few exceptions.” He estimates the time spent on the carving alone to be “easily more than 5,000 hours over two years.”
“There were days where I thought it would never end, but you get past those things,” Perritt said. “There were some days I was wondering why I got into this, but that’s part of being human. You have to mentally overcome and move on.”
Perritt has already committed to doing two side panels that will list former band directors and leaders, with space to add to the panel over time. He is also already working on a book outlining the journey of making the sculpture and researching the band’s history. The book’s profits will benefit the Texas Aggie Band Association.