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September 05, 2006 - Image 54

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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2E - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition 2006

F(SI
Michigan football isn't
just a prtea'team,a
past ime - it 'saWay
of life. Here's a look
at the traditions that
make Football
Saturdays unique to

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r. _
d

Drum Major Dennis Lee performs at the Michigan Stadium.

MARCHING BAND
I'll admit it:
I can't get
enough of the
marching band

MURRAY LEVINE
Frances Levine participates in tailgating traditions.
Michigan grandma imbibes the
atmosphere of football saturdays

By Jenny Mahn
Daily Staff Reporter
When 83-year-old New York
native Frances Levine could not
attend her grandson's graduation
from the University a year ago, she
made it a point to visit campus this
year. "I try to visit all the colleges of

my grandchildren," Levine explains.
With plans to visit her grand-
daughter, LSA sophomore Allie
Levine, Frances's son Murray
Levine arranged for her to visit the
University Nov. 12 and attend Mich-
igan's football game against Indi-
ana. As the Levine family made its
way from Allie's Delta Phi Epsilon

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sorority house to Michigan Stadium,
Allie warned her grandmother about
the party-heavy atmosphere and the
drinking that goes on during a Foot-
ball Saturday in Ann Arbor. Frances
found out first-hand when her group
stopped at 914 State St., the apart-
ment building known for its three-
story beer bong.
Many students were standing
around the bong, a large funnel
at the top, followed by nearly 30
feet of tubing. Few students were
attempting the beer bong,andthose
who did were getting drenched in
beer. But Frances decided to give
it a chance.
Frances said her family was
baffled by her curiosity and
interest in the college tradition.
"They said, 'You can't do this!'
and I said 'Why not?' "
Meanwhile, in apartment 301,
Engineering seniors Tom Korycin-
ski and Gary Ventimiglia, along
with their friends, were manning
the beer bong on the balcony.
Murray asked one of the students
controlling the beer bong if he
would lend his coat to Frances so

she would not get covered in beer
like those who had gone before her.
According to Korycinski, he usually
uses two 16-ounce cups of beer for
each person, but for Frances,he gave
her just one 12-ounce beer.
When Frances started to do the
beer bong, students in the vicinity
erupted in excitement and enthusi-
asm. "They were yelling 'Go, go,
go, go, go!' " Murray said.
"The guy with the jacket slapped
her five and all;' Allie added.
Frances enjoyed herself just as
much as those around her.
"I loved it. I felt great. I felt young
- not that I feel that old;' Frances
said. She especially enjoyed the
response she got from the students.
"I loved the kids cheering me on."
Frances said the best part of the
entire experience was the enthusi-
asm and cheers of the students.
"I love everything about the
kids," she said. "I want them to
drink less, but I guess that's a
little old fashioned."
- This article originally
ran Dec. 1, 2005.

I'm proud to say it: I absolute-
ly love the Michigan March-
ing Band.
I still get goosebumps think-
ing about the first
time I saw it per-
form. Growing
up in New York,
I had very little4
exposure to majorr
college athletics
- and therefore,
very little contact
with major college -
marching bands. MA
But at an otherwise SING
worthless "New
Student Convoca-
tion" ceremony, I discovered
the glory of the MMB. It wasn't
the full group - the band only
sent a small contingent to Crisler
Arena that night - but what I
heard stays with me to this day.
I'll never forget the way the 'M'
Fanfare reverberated through-
out that building, the way that
final, beautiful chord warmed
up the barren concrete arena.
I'll never forget pumping my fist
with everyone from Mary Sue on
down to the lowliest freshman
- it was my first live "Victors"
experience. And the most amaz-
ing thing is how it doesn't get
old, how I relive those feelings at
literally every Michigan sport-
ing event (and I attend a lot of
Michigan sporting events).
But it isn't just about the
traditional songs and the spec-
tacular way in which the band
performs them. It's about the
whole marching band saga,
from the brutal summer prac-
tices, to the entire Football Sat-
urday experience, to the hockey
pep band's antics.
Think football two-a-days are
rough? Arriving approximately
two weeks before classes begin,
band members have to deal with
full 13-hour practices under the
summer sun, pounding the turf
and perfecting their sound. They
practice for over a week straight,
not getting a day off until the
Sunday before school begins.
The long days can be both
physically and psychologically
exhausting. But the band mem-
bers keep on coming back, and
their sweaty summer afternoons
are reflected in the refined prod-
uct you see on the field at each
and every football game.
And even though the focus is
generally on the football team,
the Marching Band is an inex-
tricable part of the tradition of
those Football Saturdays in Ann
Arbor. From the stepshow in
front of Revelli Hall exactly 90
minutes before kickoff to the
march back from the stadium,
Saturday afternoon is filled with
time-honored band traditions.
But for 15 minutes or so, during
halftime, the band can temporar-
ily put convention aside and let
loose.
For those of you who didn't
see the band's halftime shows
last year, here's a brief synopsis:
For the Northern Illinois game,
the band featured classic karaoke
tunes, such as "Piano Man" by
Billy Joel, and prompted a Mich-
igan Stadium sing-along. Against
Notre Dame, it played rock songs
from around the world. The
show climaxed with a march
toward the student section, while

the band played - and the stu-
dents sang - the classic Queen
hit "Bohemian Rhapsody."
During Michigan's con-
test with Eastern
Michigan, the band
showcased its most
unconventional half-
time show yet, bring-
ing the Big House
down with a full-scale
comedic production
inspired by Monty
Python's Broadway
TT musical "Spamalot."
ER The show featured,
among other things,
a less-than-masculine
Sparty, a drunken Wisconsin
cheesehead being carted off the
field and a crazed rabbit bru-
tally tackling an Ohio State tuba
player. As it watched the ruckus
unfolding on the field, the stu-
dent section fell into hysterics.
"I've been wanting to try a
skit show every year I've been
here, but those shows are incred-
ibly risky and require a ton of
hard work," band director Jamie
L. Nix said. "So it had to be
exactly the right idea to spur
that kind of creativity. It turned
out better than we all thought it
would."
While the band's sense of
humor may have surprised some
fans, it came as no shock to me.
At an Ohio State-Michigan hock-
ey game I attended in 2003, the
Yost fans were up to their usual
shenanigans, mocking a diminu-
tive Buckeye player with chants
of "Dirty Hobbit." Picking up
on the crowd's cues, the hockey
band began playing the Lord of
the Rings theme song each time
the "Hobbit" took the ice, much
to the delight of the Michigan
faithful.
The band loves entertaining
the fans, and it loves putting
on a good show. But more than
anything, the band loves to see
Michigan win. It's hard to find
a more committed group of
Wolverine fans, and the die-hard
support extends to every sport
the marching band plays for -
from football to women's hoops.
The athletic programs appreci-
ate it, too. Each year, football coach
Lloyd Carr invites the band to a
closed practice, and afterward he
gives a speech thanking the band.
Last year, basketball coach Tommy
Amaker and hockey coach Red
Berenson stopped by band practice
to do the same. Even former football
coach Bo Schembechler made an
appearance, discussing the storied
history of the Michigan Marching
Band and reminding the band that
they are one of just two student
groups with the priviledge of storm-
ing out of the Michigan Stadium
tunnel on Football Saturdays.
So there you have it. They're
the best marchers, the best musi-
cians, the best entertainers and
the best fans. They take pride in
everything they do - every per-
fectly struck chord, every perfectly
timed step, every sore throat from
cheeringthe Wolverines while
their instruments are at their sides.
Basically, my message to the
band is this: Keep on doing what
you're doing, and I'm just going
to keep on loving you.
- This column originally
ran Sept. 22, 2005.

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