About the Michigan Marching Band

Michigan Marching Band Website

The University of Michigan Marching Band has been part of Michigan football atmosphere for well over 100 years. The history of the Michigan band dates to the fall of 1896 when Harry dePont invited all musicians on campus to attend a meeting to organize a band for the University. A large turnout led dePont to request a rehearsal site from University President James Burrill Angell who told the young student, "I shall be very glad to assist the band, but you must show me that this is a sincere venture."

In response, dePont assured Angell that the band was prepared to provide music for the Law School's annual observance of Washington's birthday -- one of the most important events of the school year. On Feb. 22, 1897, the band played its first performance on the University Hall stage. Within a few weeks, the band became one of the most popular groups on campus, playing at all the Wolverines' indoor track and field meets, as well as baseball games. In fact, it was at one of those track meets that sophomore Louis Elbel tied the World record for the 40-yard dash.

In October 1897, after only a few days of practice, the band was present at the first campus mass meeting of the new football season. On Nov. 13, the 25-member University band accompanied the football team to Detroit for a 14-0 win over Minnesota. By the fall of 1898, the presence of the band at the football games had become an integral part of the Michigan football tradition.

Throughout its history, the Michigan Marching Band has served as an ambassador of the University, drawing crowds whenever and wherever it plays. Michigan was the first Big Ten Conference band to travel to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl when it made the trip in 1948. The Band celebrated its 50th anniversary of that event with a return trip to Pasadena in January 1998 to cheer the football team on to the national championship.

Michigan's was the first collegiate marching band to perform at an NFL Super Bowl with a trip to Los Angeles in 1973, and later played at the 1982 Super Bowl in Detroit. The Band was also part of the Detroit Tigers' 1984 championship run, playing at game five of the World Series at Tiger Stadium.

Preparations for Saturday's game day performances can be observed on campus Monday through Friday at Elbel Field from 4:45-6:15 p.m. during the football season. For information on concert performances, staff and sales of band merchandise, visit mmb.music.umich.edu.