The NMU marching band also known as “The Pride,” is hosting their 57th annual Band Day, where 11 high school bands from the U.P. and northern lower Michigan, will join the Wildcats at halftime and perform following the football game against Tiffin University this Saturday.
The high school bands begin to arrive at NMU around 8 a.m. and rehearsal begins at 8:30 a.m. with a massed band rehearsal and sectionals.
Sectionals are when the band breaks down into the different instruments in order to practice. An example of a sectional would be the drumline. This process gives high school students the opportunity to work with the NMU marching band members on an individual level.
“Most of them are seniors and it’s really nice to answer their questions,” said Ashley McGrath, vice president of the NMU marching band and base drum player.
Halftime will begin with the drumline’s cadence while the bands march onto the field. The cadence provides the bands with a beat to march to.
Each of the high schools will play their fight song once on the field and then will join NMU marching band in a massed band for the remainder of the halftime show.
The massed band will be playing recent pop hits: “Born This Way,” “I Like It,” “Forget You,” “Raise Your Glass” and the “NMU Fight Song.”
The halftime show music will not be played from memory and the high school color guards will be taught the “NMU Fight Song” color guard routine Saturday morning.
The invitations to participate in this event were sent out at the beginning of the academic year giving all the participants time to practice prior to their arrival at NMU. The bands only get one rehearsal before performing together.
“I look forward to having all the bands here and working with so many high school students,” said Stephen Grugin, director of bands.
The high school bands attending are: Baraga, Engadine, Gladstone, Iron Mountain, Jeffers, Kingsford, Munising, Northwest Academy (Charlevoix), Norway and Wakefield-Marenisco.
An approximate number of high school band members and color guard participating is around 500. The massed band will consist of more than 600 individuals.
“(The high school students) look up to us,” McGrath said.
Following the game there will be an exhibition where the NMU marching band, Iron Mountain and Kingsford will perform a 10-12 minute individual field show.
“I look forward to watching the shows that the high school bands will perform after the game,” Grugin said.
The high school bands will join the NMU marching band’s tradition of marching to and from the Thomas Fine Arts building to the Superior Dome.
“It’s cool to see (the other bands),” McGrath said. “Everyone has a totally different style. Kingsford is really fun to watch.”
The NMU drum majors will be giving a clinic to the high school drum majors on marching fundamentals, leadership and mace/other techniques.
The cost to attend for the public is a ticket to the football game: $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for those under 18. NMU students get into Band Day free with their student ID.