Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Craig:  Welcome to WTI: The....We don't even have a name for it...edition.
Jeremy:  "Speechless?"
Geoff:  "WTF?"
Craig:  Welcome to WTI: The WTF Edition...
Geoff:  Everyone knows what happened to the football team on Saturday. It was inexplicable, and we're not qualified to make the attempt, even presuming we felt like it. Instead, we'll stick to the marching band.
Jeremy:  Boerma started things off well. I was at rehearsals Friday and Saturday. He has the band sounding better already.
Jeremy:  Pregame was good up until the drum major's goalpost baton toss, which was dropped -- superstition says this means we lose the game.
Geoff:  Yeah. His backbend was also shaky.
Craig:  And he's from Texas
Geoff:  He landed pretty hard. Maybe that shook him up and caused the missed toss. But other than that, pregame looked good. Sweep lines were nice and straight.
Jeremy:  The hatless backbend has become the standard from day one, but I think the DM should go back to working up to it.
Jeremy:  It used to be for very special occasions only. Then it was used for the start of Big Ten play. Then, perhaps prematurely, since day one. Alas, we award no points for difficulty, only execution.
Jeremy:  Interesting note: Cody's custom-made "DM Martin" rehearsal jersey has the number 48 on it. He's only #48 if you count BOTH drum majors from last season. Is he making a political statement?
Craig:  Or he's honoring Gerald Ford.
Geoff:  Probably not? He's just counting everyone who's been named to the office, even if only 47 have seen the field.
Geoff:  Did anyone else think Appalachian State's pregame seemed more like a halftime performance?
Jeremy:  Definitely took too long to get into that block A. Didn't fire me up for football at all.
Geoff:  And it was all glide step. Very unlike a Big Ten band, though they sounded fine.
Jeremy:  Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they sounded. But I'm a sucker for the Olympic fanfare.
Geoff:  That's always a winner. They brought a fairly large block as well.
Craig:  It did seem large from where I was sitting.
Geoff:  What was their halftime show? I've already forgotten.
Craig:  Classic Rock of the 1970s.
Jeremy:  70s rock. Think "25 or 6 to 4".
Craig:  Or as my seatmate said "Dude, AM GOLD!"
Geoff:  Oh yes, I remember that it seemed like a bunch of marching band staples. They played a Blood, Sweat & Tears song too.
Jeremy:  So there were several occasions when Boerma did not cut off the band in time. Most notably, playing entirely through 2-point conversions, and on several occasions, playing right up until the team snaps the ball.
Geoff:  Yeah. He was reluctant to cut out in the middle of a phrase and he pushed it with the timing a lot. Let's hope he learns to adjust quickly.
Craig:  As an untrained observer, it did seem off to me. So yes, I agree with Geoff.
Jeremy:  I can understand his reluctance to abruptly cut off, and the band's equal reluctance to stop playing in the middle even when ordered to keep going. I doubt it actually affected the team, but it certainly couldn't help.
Geoff:  I just want to hear a few songs that aren't "Let's Go Blue".
Jeremy:  Well, he did add a new stands tune (Carmen Fanfare), and had them playing more. I liked that.
Craig:  Let me ask you guys, again, as the outsider. Is this a case of "not opening up the playbook" yet? Trying to get the basics down and building week to week, especially with a new person in charge?
Jeremy:  I say yes, it's better to learn a few songs very well than half-ass several songs. I expect them to add at least one more per week.
Geoff:  The band only plays tunes from memory, so there's a lot of music to get down for the show and pregame before you touch any other of the traditionals.
Geoff:  It's a case of not having the playbook memorized yet, if you will.
Craig:  And with four home games in a row...
Geoff:  I like having us play from memory for pregame and halftime -- and I may be alone in this -- but I'd like to see us use flip folders in the stands. I want the band to have a much wider range of songs to pull from so we don't get 62 instances of "Let's Go Blue" before the third quarter is over.
Jeremy:  It would add a ton of variety, but at the expense of preparedness, and maybe a little prestige. Plus the director would need to plan what to play well ahead of time.
Geoff:  Yeah, he'd have to call for the next song at least a play or two ahead.
Jeremy:  Then there's always the instances where a flipfolder song is ready, but a big play happens, and they get caught on TV playing the fight song with flip folders out.
Craig:  I don't know if either of you saw this, but App. State's band had a series of signs of what was to be played.
Craig:  Which was humorous to me, when you know, I was allowed humor.
Jeremy:  Did they have huge signs that said "HI-YA YAKAS" or whatever nonsense their fight song is called?
Geoff:  Signs? As in boards with words written on them? Or as in sign language?
Craig:  No, it was like "Incredibles", "Mission Impossible", "Can't Turn You Loose" all on plastic boards with screen printed letters.
Geoff:  Oh. At first I thought you meant hand signals, which we have for "The Victors", "Let's Go Blue", and "Temptation", among others.
Craig:  No, literally, I could read what they were about to play next. I was impressed with the variety of options, I think they had boards with song names and boards with tempo and length variables. It was really quite the thing.
Craig:  But this is what you get when you sit in the south end zone in row 13
Geoff:  What did people think of our "Vegas!" halftime show? Personally, I think it was a solid, safe show. Nothing really flashy, but executed well.
Jeremy:  I thought it looked and sounded good, and that the east sideline appreciated the rare about-face. It was a little square, though.
Craig:  Uh, can I be completely honest?
Geoff:  Please.
Craig:  I don't remember it. Because I was furiously typing angry text messages to people. I would not trust my opinion of the show to be uncorrupted by rage.
Geoff:  It was Vegas standards. "It's Not Unusual", some Sinatra...
Jeremy:  It was hard sometimes to play while losing as well. Fortunately during my era we usually only lost games after 4th quarter collapses.
Craig:  I remember the Tom Jones and the Sinatra. I did think that it seemed safe, but I also remember thinking that it would be when Jeremy posted the list.
Geoff:  Yeah, nothing unexpected there. And on the east sideline I was definitely happy to be played to for once.
Geoff:  So next week we have Oregon coming to town and a Beach Boys show.
Craig:  Oooh! Love the Beach Boys...
Jeremy:  Beach Boys is a Jamie Nix arrangement; expect more flashiness and volume.
Geoff:  Any idea if they're bringing their band?
Jeremy:  I hope so. I want to make fun of their ridiculous outfits.
Craig:  They no longer have the riot gear unis, right?
Jeremy:  aw, why not?
Geoff:  But I want to see the Phil Knight 1st Shock Army uniforms.
Geoff:  I like Nix's arrangements for the rock shows a lot. I'm looking forward to it.
Craig:  We should play Carnac on the songs
Craig:  I'd love to hear them slow it down with "God Only Knows"
Craig:  But I suspect you'll get "Fun, Fun, Fun", "I Get Around" and "All Summer Long"
Jeremy:  Fun Fun Fun, I Get Around, Good Vibrations, and Surfin USA. Good guess!
Jeremy:  And Surfer Girl.
Craig:  Will there be a mobile Theremin?!?
Jeremy:  With the obligatory annual DANCE(!!!) during Surfin USA.
Geoff:  I think someone pulled out a copy of Endless Summer and put it on shuffle.
Geoff:  Aww yeah. The dance! I enjoy those more now that I don't have to learn them.
Jeremy:  One last issue with stands performance:
Jeremy:  The band was booed (and shouted at quite a bit) for playing the Victors at the end of the game.
Geoff:  We always play "The Victors", win or lose. The only difference is we play "Victors Waltz" first if we win.
Jeremy:  To which I say, what the hell. That is the fight song. That is the flag we fly, win or lose.
Craig:  I'm going to chalk that up to pure anger, not anything against the band save that they were the first convenient target.
Geoff:  It's the danger you run when your song is called "The Victors".
Jeremy:  Sure, but I just wanted to clarify that it's not a Boerma issue at all; he made the right call there.
Geoff:  Absolutely.
Craig:  Oh absolutely...As Geoff said, it's the risk you run.
Geoff:  And I think that about wraps it up for us.
Geoff:  Hopefully by next week we'll be more in the mood to talk about football again.
Jeremy:  Let's do this again under better circumstances.
Craig:  If you're going to the game this week: Be loud, be proud, and remember:  Noise cannot hurt our defense.


Bagz said...

Superstition says that if the drum major catches the goal post toss, Michigan will win the game. I can tell you for a fact that this is not necessarily true.

also, I had a #47 jersey, so the #48 was not a political statement.

jeffsl said...

Hey guys, I just discovered your blog recently and I love it. Brings back a lot of memories (I marched '89~'92). A question about the band these days. Do the 1st trumpets (or at least some of them) play on Eb trumpets? MSU does this to great effect (the firsts play the high parts easier, more in tune, and with much greater endurance), and I was just curious if U-M has done this in the many intervening years since I last went to a game (1999, I think). Keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, I am leaving the computer to get back what I've been doing since the game ended -- curl up into a fetal position while listening to R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" on repeat.

Go Blue!

Jeremy said...

Iden! Straight from the source.

I couldn't remember if you had a jersey last year -- all the Saturday morning pics I looked through had you in a t-shirt.

So I know there have been goalpost tosses caught where we lost anyway, but have there been dropped goalpost tosses where we've won? I was told there have not.

Bagz said...


The mysterious powers that be rendered it such that I didn't get the jersey until before the Indiana game. Equally mysteriously, Cody received his sooner. So, yeah, most of the saturday morning pictures have me sans jersey.

I'm not sure about instances in which the toss has been dropped but Michigan has won. Cavi no doubt has a story about that. If I had to guess, I'd say that more often then not, the DM might drop the very first toss of the season due to nerves, sun, crowd, etc. Now, normally the first game is a winnable cupcake, but yeah. In conclusion, ask Cavi.

Aram said...

First trumpets don't use Eb horns. Those of us with the range blast it out on the Bb.

It's fun in hot weather, let me tell you. Almost passed out during the epic post-game show...

Unknown said...

So if Iden had #47, then HE was making the statement? I know Cavi was 44, which makes DLee 45 and no 46...

Aram said...

Ben Iwrey was drum major #46. Period. There's no statement to be made, it's not political. The only thing Ben got was #46.

The policy has now been changed, as I understand it, to reflect that one has to have performed one game as drum major to get a number in the chronology.

Thus, Iden was 47, Cody is 48.

Jeff said...

Nobody noticed when Boerma had the band play Iron man after a sack on THIRD DOWN?

Not that I dislike Iron Man...but Temptation is Temptation. End of story. One doesn't mess with "T".

Well, in all fairness, I guess he didn't know we played it EVERY time the D stops somebody on third.

Ameed said...

internet research (i.e. google) tells me that Oregon's Band (OMB) has not updated anything on their website since 2003...except the performance schedule, (only the one on the homepage, because any other ones you will find will be 2003), was updated in 2006. idea if their band is coming, what they wear now, or even if they still exist.

In other news...QUACK

Aram said...

Oregon's band isn't coming.

And, as I recall, they had some issues last year with their school possibly yanking funding. I guess they also don't have the riot gear/ninja turtle uniforms anymore, too...

the remaining visiting bands this season are Penn State, Ohio State, Eastern Michigan, and Notre Dame.

Ameed said...

Let me translate for the viewers out there in tv land: in the order Aram listed,

you can look forward to plastic capes/flip folders accompanied by some kind of cougar; nazi youth and a guy with a big brown nut on his head; nothing bad to say about EMU lest they beat us too; and tall guys with kilts and whitey tighties accompanied by an over-privileged, short, white guy sporting some green and a beard;

coming to a big house near you!

just no riot turtles...damn, i was hoping to at least see the uniforms in person once in my life

SyracuseWolvrine said...

Could be wrong on this, but I believe the "tradition" (if you will) of the backbend-with-no-hat was started in the early-mid '90s, when a DM (Matt Pickus, if I recall correctly) attempted a backbend-with-hat, and never got the hat down far enough to touch. The next week, he came out, did the bend-without-hat, nailed it, and did that for the rest of his tenure as DM.

Jeremy said...

I think you're right on all counts, SyracuseWolverine. That story has been published, too, so it's good to have it on record. When I said how it "used to be," I really only meant like 2001-2006. I have no idea how it was done from 1994-2001.