ANN ARBOR – The Michigan Marching Band performed the first digital show in its 123-year history on Saturday ahead of the Wolverines’ football game against Penn State.
Instead of gathering on the field at half-time, members of the band filmed their individual performances, which were edited together in a nearly eight minute video.
The band performed a variety of songs, including “Help!” by The Beatles, “Don’t Back Down” by Bruce Springsteen and “Amazing Grace.”
Familiar voice and longtime Michigan Marching Band announcer Carl Grapentine appears throughout the performance. If you close your eyes, you can almost picture being at Michigan Stadium on game day.
The theme of the show was “Hail To The Frontline Heroes” to honor medical and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan men’s basketball head coach Juwan Howard appeared as a special guest.
“I want to join the Michigan Marching band in thanking members of our medical community,” said Howard in the video. “The doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, technicians and everyone who has played a role in keeping us safe and healthy throughout the pandemic. These folks have risked their own health to care for us. They are true heroes.”
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From musicians to flag team members, to cheerleaders and baton twirlers, the video features scores of the band’s members performing from their dorm rooms, permanent residences, front yards and on the band’s practicing grounds at Elbel Field.
Toward the end of the performance, several members of the band appear on camera with messages of thanks to frontline workers. And it wouldn’t be a Michigan Band show if the drum major didn’t do that famous backbend on the field at the Big House.
The band’s 56th drum major, senior Walter Aguilar, pulled off the stunt in true Wolverine fashion.