UM Band of the Hour sparks school spirit

Jordan Balke, senior, plays the flute in the marching band before the Ohio State game begins. Cayla Nimmo//Assistant Photo Editor

The tune of “I Will Survive” rang out from the football field during halftime at Saturday’s home opener against Ohio State, courtesy of the Band of the Hour.

Leading a crowd of over 66,000 people in a round of karaoke, this marked the group’s new plan to garner increased participation at football games for the 2011 season.

Led by director Thomas Keck, the band performed popular sing-a-long songs, such as “American Pie,” “Piano Man” and “Hey Jude” while lyrics appeared on the scoreboard video screens.

“This year, it’s all about getting everyone in the stands involved in what we’re doing during the halftime show,” sophomore drum major Taylor Rambo said.

The Band of the Hour features musicians from UM, both undergraduates and graduate students, as well as local high school students.

While the music may have gotten students excited for the game, it also served another purpose that is central to the action on the field.

“The band represents our school spirit,” said junior Yifan Zhang, who attended several homes games last year. “So if the band is playing it gives the team a lot of support and it makes the students more lively.”

Stephen Yip, assistant band captain, explained that the band members are truly getting the job done while playing in the stands and distracting the opposing team.

“We play when we’re on defense,” Yip said. “We create noise. We try to focus a lot more on getting students to jump, sing and dance.”

The band’s first step toward more crowd participation was the karaoke method, Rambo said. His only concern is that it may take more than one game to get the message across.

“Hopefully this year we’ll be able to break through to the students better than we have ever before,” he said.

It seems that students have begun to catch on.

“Whenever I go to games, people will tell me to stay for the halftime show because they say it’ll be really cool,” Zhang said.

However, freshman Lindsey Bergholz thought the band should have better publicized its karaoke idea in order to connect with the audience.

“Unless you were really observant, you probably didn’t notice,” said Bergholz, who attended the Ohio State game. “If people were singing, it was more like, ‘Oh, I know this song!’ than them reading the lyrics.”