In the finest tradition of 19th-century Americana, the origin of the Michigan Marching Band was a grass roots student effort. In November 1896, the University of Michigan Band held its first rehearsal. At the behest of University President James Burrill Angell that the newly-formed band prove itself to be a "sincere venture," the U-M Band gave its first public performance in 1897 at old University Hall for the Law School's annual observance of Washington's birthday. The first appearance on a football field was in the fall of 1898.
Directors of University Bands
Directors of the Michigan Marching Band
Notes and Facts
- More than 420 students auditioned for membership in 1999.
- At the Michigan-Ohio State University football game in 1932, the University of Michigan Band created the first "script Ohio" -- predating a similar formation now made famous by the OSU Band.
- The Michigan Marching Band was the first Big Ten band to perform in a Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California (January 1, 1948) and has appeared there fifteen additional times.
- The Michigan Marching Band was the first band to appear in both Yankee Stadium and the Rose Bowl in the same season (1950), thus earning the nickname "The Transcontinental Marching Band."
- The Michigan Marching Band was the first big 10 band to perform for an NFL Super Bowl game (Super Bowl VII, Los Angeles, 1973). The band also performed for Super Bowl XVI at the Pontiac Silverdome (1982).
- One of the many highlights of the 1999 season will be the Homecoming game against Minnesota on November 1. As many as 350 Band Alumni are expected to return to the gridiron for their annual "Blast from the Past."
- On January 1, 1983, the Michigan Marching Band became the first recipient of the Louis Sudler National Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy. The Sudler Trophy is awarded annually to a college marching band of particular excellence. The trophy was the idea of Louis Sudler, a Chicago realtor and vice-chairman of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation. The selection of the Michigan Band as the first recipient was made through a ballot sent to 700 college marching band directors, as well as sportswriters and television commentators. The final selection was made by a panel of twenty marching band directors from around the country.