Do I have to be able to touch my toes to try out? How about bend backwards? I'm not able to do either.
MMB Drum Major audition season
All the candidates do the backbend and the toe touch, though the "head-touch" version, because it's relatively new (it became the standard in the early 2000s), is not requisite.
Also necessary to try out is that you be in the MMB. >.<
question but exactly how does one go about doing one of these backbend headtouches? Besides breaking the spine what kind of exercises and stretches do they do to be able to do this superhuman feet?
Lay flat on the ground, put your hands back and do a back bend like a cheerleader, then lower your head til it touches the ground. That's the best one. Other than that, it's stretching out your back and your backward flexibility. But there is a ton of leg strength that you need to have.
The head touch became required in 2007 in Jamie Nix's last year... did Boerma change it back?
I don't know how it was then, but it is now not necessary, but like twirling, it is highly recommended.
Also necessary to try out is that you be in the MMB
So these guys used to play instruments and then gave them up to be drum major?
Well, only those who become Drum Majors give up their instruments. (Twirlers may audition too.) David Hines Jr. used to play Euphonium. I think he also used to play clarinet in high school. The rest of the candidates will return as usual next year.
If I remember correctly from past years, they post the auditions on youtube, right?
Some members take video at the Spring Meeting and post them on YouTube, but I don't think it's necessarily true of all years. Plus, it's difficult to post the dry stuff (like marching, back bend, etc), so they would probably only post the twirling portion, which is optional but highly recommended.
not to toot my own horn, but....
Just so people know, a lot of these kids, if not all, have been informally working as a group since the fall to prepare for this audition. Or, at least, that's how it was a few years back. This isn't something taken lightly, and is the culmination of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work that may not even go past tomorrow.
Good luck to everyone trying out, I know from my friends who tried out that it was an incredibly stressful process. Just putting yourself out there is an achievement.
There's too little celebration of the effort, the trip and the competiton and too much on the Neanderthal, "Just Win Baby".
Yep, it's the same way now, Bando. All of the candidates this year are incredibly hard-working and dedicated to the band. It's also terribly sad that the 8th candidate, who made the second round last year, will have to sit out for injury.
--a drum major candidate.
Ahahahahaha your username. This is too good.
Break a leg! er... or not...just do well
Anyone who's baller enough to have a handle like "mgobobcat" on MGoBlog deserves a +1. I hope your audition went well.
--Fmr. Music Major
Also it's raining today, elbel is an ankle destroying machine when it rains.
I auditioned for drum major my senior year at Michigan (couldn't because of injury my junior year - sucks for whoever had to drop this year) back when the entire audition happened in front of the band during band week in August. It's nerve-wracking and mentally demanding - not just because of having to perform in front of the people you want to lead, but because all of the time put in prepping over the summer coming down to one shot.
Hopefully all of the candidates come away feeling like they had their best performance. If you get beaten by a better candidate, there's no shame in it. If you gack it up....
That was a tough way to do it, auditioning in August right before the start of the season. Seems a bit more humane the new way. I had a good friend who was runner-up in the August audition, couldn't deal with it, and never walked into Revelli Hall again. If she would have had the summer to think things through, she would probably have been back.
Do they still audition the twirlers in August before the whole band, or has that changed too? It used to be done exactly like the drum majors. That was brutal, too. Another good friend was crushed by that process as a freshman. She stayed with it, but it always stayed with her for her four years in the band.
Twirlers audition for the staff for admittance to the band, and then audition for the whole band at the end of band week to determine "if they're ready to march." It is very, very informal, and it would be rare that a twirler who has been admitted to the band does not get to march.
They've added that early audition, then. Probably a wise move. I still feel sorry for a couple of those girls. (Yes, there was a guy, too, but I didn't see him get voted down)
Thanks for the info.
@Corey, I don't recall Nix himself making the hatless backbend mandatory in 2007. I think it just kind of happened that way because the DMs starting taking the hat off all the time. Mind you, at the time, a few folks opposed the very idea of a hatless backbend. I remember Karl saying that technically removing the hat is removing part of your uniform during a performance, which is an interesting way of looking at it. He was partially joking, but you know how old, stodgy Michigan alumni can be. At anyrate, it's awesome.
I remember the audition process. It's incredibly physically and mentally taxing. Best of luck to everyone trying out.
IIRC it was Matt Cavanaugh around 2003 who started going hatless. I think he pulled it out against ND during 38-0 #1, but he might have started doing it in 2002. Then Dennis Lee went two full years of hatlessness to follow that. I remember Matt taking off the hat and putting a rose in his mouth during the backbend at the 2004 Rose Bowl against USC.
Matt Pickus, drum major in 1993 and 1994 started going hatless (not every game right away), and I think it was sporadic afterwards but became sort-of expected.
I tended to agree with the grumpy old alumni initially about removing the hat meaning taking apart your uniform on the field, but now I'm okay with it - the crowd loves it, and entertaining the crowd is what it's about. Of course, to be fair (and open), I competed against Pickus for DM in 1992 and there's no way I ever could have done it (just not flexible enough).
I liked when the Hatless back-bend was saved for big games. IIRC, that's how Cavanaugh operated.
Also, Matt still goes nuts every year as an alumni DM at homecoming. He'll be the one twriling, spinning, and ultimately jumping and landing in the splits. Can't believe he's still doing it almost 20 years later.
At the 1996 Boston College game, I remember drum major Ramon Johnson messed up the backbend. He leaned to his right and had to put his arm out to keep himself from losing his balance. Then the crowd went, "OHHHH!!!" I have the home movie of it.
I have to ask since I only make around 2 home games per year, how common is that when the drum major messes up the backbend? Despite going hatless now, they make it look so effortless.
It's uncommon for the Michigan DM to screw up the backbend. At least, I've seen it happen very rarely, but it does happen once in a blue moon.
Not to be completely petty, but I've seen the MSU DM falter twice. The crowd cheers when that happens, but I feel bad for them. The backbend is difficult physically and mentally, especially in the heat of the moment when people are watching. Adding a loud, racous away crowd makes it even tougher.
As Brian noted at the close of the season, David Hines Jr. has some of the best backbends around. He has not screwed up once in two years.
Was Ramon Johnson the one from Pasadena? I remember his hometown always drew big cheers.
Yeah, he was from Pasadena. During the national championship year, he got to stay home for Christmas and wait for the rest of the band to come to him for the bowl game. That worked out pretty well.
The backbend is optional, but you must be able to lick your own eyebrows.
Obviously we've got some MMB alumni here and I keep trying to figure out which ones of you were there when I was and who I know. I marched from 89-92 (rosebowl, gator bowl, rose bowl, rose bowl...beat that suckas....)...trumpet player...ranks 6 and 7...
Side note...my wife is an ex MMB twirler; the twirler auditions used to be way more pressure...no gaurantee at all you were marching just because you were in the band...I don't know if that was better or worse...
OK, I know who you are. Do you know who I am? Same years, MMB wife (but NOT a twirler) and a sax rank leader.
P.S. Including coming of the '89 hoops championship, getting the Fab 5, and seing the hockey team return to national prominence we had one of the best sports runs at any university ever.
Yeah, I think I know who you are. Three Rose Bowls (and winning the last one) - we were pretty fortunate.
I was a clarinet player, rank 15 and 16, rank 16 leader in 91, married a flag.
You're right about the twirler tryouts back then - beaucoup pressure.
A little something for these 89-92 MMB members:
THIS is why I love WolverineHistorian.
Many thanks for those. That last one may have been may favorite show - I remember getting a bigger cheer from the Buckeye crowd than the OSU band got, even at the skull session.
I majored in music (clarinet performance) at M. The music program is the best in the B1G and has been for decades. The band tradition at Michigan is outstanding. I don't know how I would have felt about being required to march under Revelli, but dang did he know how to conduct and run a college band.
Another clutch play by WolverineHistorian!
That's me! In the Maize and Blue -- with the hat!
Maybe because I hardly ever make it back to a squared and have never done blast from the past I just can't figure either for sure...I've narrowed it 2 or 3 for each of you, but I'm stumped...really my memory sucks, don't be offended...
give me your initials and I'll pull the year books out of the attic tonight and check...
My initials are GM, my wife's then were HA.
My sister was HA's roommate, and fellow flag (initials LE).
My initials are MVP and I married clarinet JD (who was only in the MMB our senior year).
Back in my day (Jeff Wilkins, Guy Bordo, Steve Roberts) the tryouts were in front of the entire band in August during Band Week -- As were the twirlers AND the Announcer. The Announcer tryouts were largely pro-forma, but I liked that someone else did have a chance at it.
Anyone who is a Non-Band Geek who has actually hung around for to the end of this discussion should know that the DM has many important dutties ontop of the back bend and game day struttin'. He/She has a huge role in rehearsals and representing the University at various events.
And despite my age, I'm apparently not grumpy or stodgy. I like the hatless back bend. It gets the crowd incredibly psyched. Always in awe of anyone who consistently pulls it off, especially in bad/cold weather.
Trumpet '78 to '82 (Rose Bowl, Gator Bowl, Rose Bowl, Astro Bluebonnet Bowl, Super Bowl) Business manager Senior Year
Didn't mean to imply that I wasn't always glad to have Carl "The Voice" Grapentine as our leader. Just liked that we were living up to being on of the most democratic organizations on campus.
Bill Gage trying out for DM in the late 70's/early 80's. And Carl Grapentine was never actually challenged for announcer, except once in '79......
but in terms of pure karma goodness, nothing beat hearing "Ramon Johnson from Pas-a-dena California" during that 97 season. Went to a bando party (squatters rights-- one of my roomates was a bando so I got dragged along-- after the Ohio State game that year and I have never seen a happier individual than Ramon that night.
needs to throw down some props for the backbend at the Big Chill. That was as impressive as it gets.
There's an excellent shot of Hines on the field that is making its way into promotional materials used by the admissions office. Including a poster. I saw a mockup and blurted "I NEED THAT FOR MY OFFICE" a sentiment which was repeated by everyone at the meeting. Anxiously awaiting that one to be printed.