Will the Michigan Marching Band travel to any regular season games in 2017?

Submitted by SpikeFan2016 on June 15th, 2017 at 12:15 PM

In 2015, the last time Michigan hosted both MSU and OSU, the Michigan Marching Band did not travel to a single regular season game that was not in Ann Arbor.

I think this is a shame, as most Big Ten universities, pretty much all of whom have much less money available than U of M, try to allow their bands to travel to conference games at least once a year. It's a good experience for the students, fans and the atmosphere of Big Ten and college football. 


That said, given 2017 doesn't have a trip to either East Lansing or Columbus on the docket (our two guaranteed band trips), I was wondering if anyone has any inside information on the possible options of band trips to away football games this year? Has anything been settled yet?


The Good Game Options:

  • at Wisconsin, November 18th. The University of Wisconsin sent their band to Ann Arbor in 2016, so this is feasible travel wise. Additionally, Michigan has not visited Madison since 2009 (our longest current hiatus from any Big Ten campus) and this very easily could be a top ten matchup; seems like as good an occasion as any for a band trip. 
  • at Penn State, October 21st. Obviously, this will be our most pivotal road Big Ten East matchup, in a great environment. Would be lovely to hear The Victors playing over a quieted PSU White Out. Yes, the logistics can be a little tricky, but Penn State sent their full band to the last night game at The Big House in 2014, so it is also doable. 
  • vs. Florida, September 2nd (Arlington, Texas). Obviously, this is the most expensive trip of the three "good" options and it's probably the least important game. I know that our last game at Cowboy Stadium in 2012 included the band after lots of Dave Brandon outrage; has anyone heard if we will be sending them again?


The "Bad Games, but Easiest" Options:

  • at Purdue, September 23rd. This is the closest game to Ann Arbor and would be logistically easy, but a snoozer. With our band there, it would be as close to a U of M home game as you'd get on another campus (I imagine the crowd will be not sold out, and close to 50-50, given Purdue's fanbase).
  • at Indiana, October 14th. Again, a likely snoozer, but logistically easy/doable. IU very frequently sends their bands to both Ann Arbor and East Lansing for games. 


I'd hope that of these 5 options, we make it to preferably at least one, and honestly, I think that two would be best. Especially given we only have 6 home games this year, rather than the standard 7 (or in the case of last year, 8). If you had to pick two of these games that the band could make it to, which would you choose?



June 15th, 2017 at 12:34 PM ^

If I won the Powerball lottery, I'd become a big time booster of the program.  One of the expenses I'd subsidize would be getting the band to as many big away games as possible.  I've gotta think it at least marginally helps the players hear some friendly sounds when they're in very unfriendly environments.

Mark McBoneski

June 15th, 2017 at 12:45 PM ^

The band will be traveling to Texas, and I hear that they actually get a hotel this time. Last time, they made the entire trip within 24 hours, and it was a nightmare.

 I don't think they will be going to any other away games. While most members would love to be at the games themselves, the time and travel involved typically make members not want to go on away trips. Fans forget that the band members are students too, and get none of the extra academic support that student-athletes get. When I was in band (drink!), I used our free Saturdays as a catch-up day for homework. 


June 15th, 2017 at 1:01 PM ^

I'm not sure I would paint with a broad brush.  Those trips are still generally a great time and I think a majority of the members would enjoy one per year - especially if it is to a place they don't normally travel.  I'm guessing that the trip to Jerryworld will suck up all available money and thus prevent another road game like Wisconsin or PSU.  I'm not sure if the MMB has ever traveled to Wisconsin before, so that would be my vote for the place I'd want to send them. 

Another option that is never envoked but would be interesting to discuss is sending a smaller pep band rather than the entire MMB.  It would have the benefit of getting the Michigan fans more fired up during the games and save some of the money - though still would be a logistical and financial challenge.

In my era we went to Northwestern once and also performed at a Chicago Bears game the same weekend.  It was a great experience - but was a huge financial burden to the program.  


June 15th, 2017 at 2:56 PM ^

Went to Wisconsin my freshman year.  Spent the night in Whitewater, WI and performed at their high school halftime.  It was 20 degrees, and there were more of us in the band than in the stands.  Four of us stayed at a dairy farm and they turned the lights off at 10PM.  They asked us if we wanted to get up at 4 to watch them milk the cows - I regret to this day that I didn't take them up on it.

At the game, the Wisconsin students continually threw beer bottles at the band throughout the second half from the upper deck. It was a bit scary and the UW adminsitration didn't appear to do anything to stop it.


June 15th, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

In my mind all apparel threads need to be started by WD (God rest his soul) and all band threads need to be started (or at least commented on) by Bando.

UMBig11 posts actual relevant, inside information on the football team, Maizen handles the Beilein posts and I'm in charge of the all-important Cleveland professional sports team updates that everyone looks forward to so much.


June 15th, 2017 at 12:51 PM ^

The band will travel to the B1G championship game at Indy on Dec 2 to cheer on the U-M football team with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

Bando Calrissian

June 15th, 2017 at 1:19 PM ^

--Few, if any opposing-team bands go to Wisconsin, as a pretty general rule that goes back a pretty long time. 

--PSU is an expensive trip. Almost happened in 2006, but that was one-off appeal from Schembechler Hall that ultimately couldn't be fulfilled on the PSU end. Long story.

--Jerryworld is a given

--Zero reason to go to either Purdue or Indiana. Travel is always reserved for games that are either going to be intense atmospheres or big-name opponents. Neither is true here. Typically, the MMB students will informally organize a trip to go to one of those games as fans.

Band travel is expensive. Jerryworld will be very expensive. That'll probably be it this time around, if previous precedent is anything. And one of those weekends will be the Band-O-Rama concert, so the band will need to be in Ann Arbor. 

Also keep in mind that as much fun as band travel is (and it is fun), it's a great deal of time and energy for all involved. I always enjoyed a weekend here and there off to let the grind slow down for a minute.


Mr. Robot

June 15th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

I have heard on the board before that PSU basically flat out doesn't want you to bring your band so they do everything they can to make it hard to accomplish that short of telling you "no" explicitly. Last I recall, it was said they only allow a very small band portion and they basically charge for every band member like they were attenting the game as a fan.

If that is true, then I wonder why in the hell we or anybody else let's them bring their band to their stadium? As far as I'm concerned, if they don't return the favor in kind, they can leave theirs at home too.

As far as Wisconsin goes, I would guess that might have something to do with the reputation of how their fans treats visting guests?

Bando Calrissian

June 15th, 2017 at 1:54 PM ^

IIRC, the problem with PSU in 2006 was that Schembechler Hall told the MMB they wanted them there, arrangements for hotels and transportation and such were made, but it was a bit late (this was all happening in August-September, IIRC) and PSU couldn't guarantee a block of seats. JoePa was concerned (rightfully) that bands on the field could mean someone getting pretty seriously hurt (which, again, he was right), and wanted everyone in the stands--including their band. By that point, they couldn't block out the 250 seats or so, and the trip got cancelled. I'm not sure it really has much to do with trying to discourage bands to come, and the B1G policy is not to charge for band members--after all, the MMB was supposed to go to Happy Valley in 2001, but sent a pep band instead when the Cold War got scheduled for the same day, and the PSU band comes to A2 all the time.

Wisconsin, that's 100% it. 

Mark McBoneski

June 15th, 2017 at 2:21 PM ^

I thought the issue with Wisconsin wasn't their fans. but their band itself. The Wisco band is notorious for being terrible (both musically and as representatives of the university). While their shenanigans aren't quite Stanford-level, the band still has been suspended a few times for bad conduct. They even tried to steal the Revelli Hall piano a time or two during postgame receptions. I always thought that we didn't travel to Wisconsin because the staff didn't want to deal with Wisco's band if at all possible.


June 15th, 2017 at 2:35 PM ^

The band went to PSU without incident in 1999 (Tom Brady comeback and Jerry Sandusky's final home game.) 

I've been told Michigan asked to send the band there in 1997 for Judgment Day but PSU said, "no."  Which was VERY unfortunate given how that game turned out.  And Beano Cook even told us to bring the band because they will be the only thing Michigan fans have to cheer about all game long.  Heh.  

From what you're saying, it sounds like arrangements have to be made FAR in advance.  OSU has taken their band to PSU every time they have played there and they never have the issues we do.  But they're closer and I think they're an automatic road trip for them just like South Bend, East Lansing and Columbus are automatic for the MMB.


June 15th, 2017 at 1:58 PM ^

Plus here is a secret--as someone who was in the band, I didn't WANT to go to every road game.  Super-long bus rides aren't always fun (OSU, MSU, ND were all fine), plus having some weekends to study was important.  When you had a home game, especially a 3:30 game, your entire day was shot.  Practice was still early morning, and you didn't get done with the game until 8 or 9PM.  And that's ignoring typical Saturday night college stuff.

Also, having an off weekend meant more time to prepare for the next halftime show.  

Don't get me wrong, I loved going to away games.  Just not every single one.  One or two big away games a year max (plus a bowl game) was fine.  



June 15th, 2017 at 5:52 PM ^

that the band go to EVERY game upthread.  That is what I was referring to.  It just isn't necessary IMO and would wear the band down.   With rehersals every week-day already, you just need some days off.   The football team doesn't get them, and I respect what they pull off, but you know, they are the football team.  Doing athletics definitely means you sacrifice everything else you are doing on campus.  

Bando Calrissian

June 15th, 2017 at 2:47 PM ^

Yep. I did every game in 2006 except Indiana, MMB trips and stuff on my own, and it was exhausting. You really need that Saturday or two to just veg out, not to mention a Friday without rehearsal now and then. And god help you if you're in Fanfare, Basketball, Volleyball, and/or Hockey Bands on top of it.

Gosh, when you put that all in writing, how did we all get through fall classes?


June 15th, 2017 at 5:58 PM ^

Yeah, I did Hockey Band too.  Sometimes I think it was a mistake.  The old, Friday night hockey game, Saturday football game, Sat. night. hockey game triple headers were SOOO great!

Of course, I really have very little room to complain, as both the football and hockey teams were excellent during my time in school, so most of my time was spent repeatedly playing the Victors as we once again scored.  So, hard to be mad about it.

I would usually take about 12-13 credit hours in the Fall and the load up my Spring semester with 17-18 credits to get by.  It usually worked, but one semester I ended up with E-mag II, Reletivistic Physics, and I think 3-D Calculus all in the same semester and I had a meltdown during my finals.  I was doing fine up till then but I just biffed every single final.  Didn't end up ruining my GPA overall but it was a BAD semester........


June 15th, 2017 at 3:36 PM ^

From my massive game collection - and also going on memory - in the last 40 years, the only times the MMB traveled to road games (not neutral site and bowl games) outside of ND, MSU and OSU was...

2000 at Illionis
1999 at Penn State
1996 at Northwestern
1981 at Purdue

Those worked out only because two of those years, Notre Dame was off the schedule when we would have otherwise been in South Bend and the other two years they only had East Lansing to go to and could probably easily afford a second road trip.

Now that ND will not be a regular opponent and the schedule with MSU being f*cked up as of 2014, there's going to be a completely empty road schedule for the band in odd numbered years. If going to PSU is too expensive and going to Wisconsin is too dangerous, fine. But I wish they would go somewhere in enemy territory. Not going anywhere in 2015 was a shame.


June 15th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

Just a courtesy announcement for the MMB. The funds are not there for travel. If you want a philanthropy project, the MMB is a good one.

Bando Calrissian

June 15th, 2017 at 9:31 PM ^

Other programs do not have the locked-in OSU/MSU/(usually) ND situation that Michigan has. 

For PSU, for instance, what are your big games from year to year? If you're going to Ann Arbor, that's probably going to be one of them. B1G schools do not send their band to more than a couple away games a year, just like the MMB. But when you have a couple big games that are must-travels, as Michigan does, those are the ones that get the priority.

The key is that our lens on this stuff as Michigan folk is that for most schools, a trip to Ann Arbor is a big deal, so we see a disproportionate number of bands in our stadium. From the perspective of schools like Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, etc., it means a lot to have their bands in the building for a trip to Michigan. Flip the situation, and why would the MMB send the band to their stadiums? Who cares? Why spend the ridiculous amount of money when there are bigger games to prioritize?

rob f

June 16th, 2017 at 6:50 AM ^

I don't recall seeing it before---it long has to his been the case?

This makes for an easy decision here---after enjoying for over 40 seasons what the MMB brings to Michigan Stadium on game day, a donation from me is long overdue.

And in this case, points are something we CAN talk about.


June 15th, 2017 at 5:15 PM ^

Tangental to the OP, here's another item:

I recently learned that for every home game this year, the visiting team will bring their band.  Shows just how much of a big game it is to be playing Michigan.