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September 17, 2012 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-17

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2B - September 17, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Let's hear it for the Michigan Marching Band

Patrick Fleming was buried
in his Michigan Marching
Band uniform.
Fleming, a sophomore trum-
pet player, died on Sept. 26, 2011 r
in a car crash on US-23 near
Fenton, Mich. Scott Boerma,
director of the Michigan March-
ing Band, still remembers the
call from his receptionist on
that Monday morning. He had
just stepped out of his office in
Revelli Hall to grab lunch at the
"That can't be true," he
thought, staring at the phone in
his hand. "How could that have
He'd experienced a loss in the
band before, when he was a high
school director in Novi, Mich. -
But that student was in a long-
time battle with leukemia; they
saw that one coming, they had
time to prepare.
"That's indescribable,"
Boerma said. "You never expect
something like that to happen."
Just two days earlier, Fleming atetrumpe
had taken his spot at the base of L
the block 'M' during pregame of be laid to r
the Michigan-San Diego State loved so mu
game. Now he was gone. Boerma "That wa
contacted counseling services Boerma sai
on campus and then delivered decided tha
the heartbreaking news to the want the m
band. tant. Thatv
That Saturday, Fleming's hole to go to his
in the block 'M' was left empty. lying in his
It was a painful absence, even It's hard
for those who never knew Flem- ries from ju
ing. But it brought the MMB Boerma lik
family even closer. outpouring
"It didn't surprise me, really, received in
but it was so profoundly obvi- ing's death
ous that something like that you Boerma1
think might tear people apart off his desk
did just the opposite," Boerma and twirled
said. "It brought us all closer gers. It alte
together and made us real- and blue, a
ize how fragile life is and how Northwest(
important the bonds are. I saw them thatv
the band really cling to each There w(
other and forge forward." from well-v
Fleming's family requested he across thec

A player Patrick Fleming was tragically killed is a car accident a year ago. His family requested he be baried in his Michigan Marching Band aniform.

est in the uniform he
as unprecedented,"
d. "Ultimately, it was
at what Patrick would
ost was most impor-
was pretty profound
funeral and see him
to relive the memo-
ust a year ago. What
es to remember is the
of support the band
the wake of Flem-
picked a wristband
on Friday afternoon
d it between his fin-
rnated purple, maize
memento from the
ern band that wore
ere myriad cards
wishing programs
countrv. Drum maiors

from Michigan St
State delivered 12
from each Big Ter
laid them in Flem
the block 'M.' Th(
a drum major bat
with Fleming's no
Ohio State
had a moment
of silence
during its
skull session.
The Spartan
Band posted a
video offering
their condo-
lences, and
Amazing Grace t
News travels q
bands. Rivalries a
etrable walls, and
thing beautiful at

ate and Ohio Two years at
roses - one MMB was on t
n band - and that support.
ring's spot in This past Sat
ey also brought sachusetts Mar
on inscribed dubbed 'The P
ame. of New Englan
"I try not to
tell them how
difficult it is;
they just do it."
o honor Flem- of life, there ar
there are legen
uickly between the marching N
aren't impen- en route to Ann
i there's some- they stopped b
bout that. Ohio for a quic
At 10:30 p.m., G
Iy the band's dire
decades, suffer
and died sudde
When Massa
at Revelli Hall1
noon, the MME
of the practice1
in hand.
"It was anotl
just wow," Boe
0 so proud, not st
they stepped u
the UMass bang

go, though, the audience to cater to," Boerma
he giving end of said. "It's a football crowd. They
come here to rah-rah and have
turday, the Mas- a good time. We have to make
ching Band - sure we have a show that's going
ower and Class to connect to a different faction
d' - was in town of the audience each week."
for the first It's all part of a balancing act.
time since Boerma arranges 90 percent of
Michigan and the MMB's music, and he has
Massachusetts to take everyone into consider-
met in 2010. But ation. Against Massachusetts
that first visit it was modern pop, against Air
was made with Force it was a military tribute.
the heaviest of Next week? "Maybe Gershwin,"
hearts. Boerma said.
In marching The difficulty with a college
band, like every marching band is that you learn
other walk a show for five days, perform it,
e legends. And then learn a brand new show the
ds lost. While next week.
Vinutemen were It's no walk in the park. It's
Arbor in 2010, undeniably absurd. Not only
y Cuyahoga Falls, do you have to find time to do
k performance. homework and study, you have
ieorge N. Parks, to memorize a full slate of half-
ctor for three time music and marching drill.
ed a heart attack "It's freaky how they're able
nly. to memorize these charts in five
achusetts arrived days and perform for 114,000
the next after- people," Boerma said with a
B lined the walls grin. "I try not to tell them how
hall with signs difficult it is; they just do it."
The band puts in more hours
her example of, than you'd ever expect. There's
rma said. "I was Band Week - which is actu-
urprised, that ally two weeks - in late August
p and welcomed when the MMB puts in 10 hours
d." per day. During school, it's an
hour and a half each afternoon.
*** Other than learning the music.
and drill, it's on the MMB mem-
des of the march- bers to nail down the band's
y that you never unique style - two different
erstood them - kinds of high steps and the half-
reless dedication time roll step.
t to your seat on There's plenty of time to culti-
t stay in your seat vate the family atmosphere.
e. "Two weeks before you step
adium announcer into your first class, you have
e announced a a new family," Boerma said.
on Saturday that "You have 380 new friends who
udent section have been to that classroom,
and likely left have taken that professor, know
ers with a look of where all the dorms and apart-
ments are."
ybe." There are 380 members of
Love." the MMB, but just 275 spots in
Jagger." the performance block. That
different kind of means not everyone marches

each week, there's a depth chart
of sorts, and that means "chal-
Each Friday, reserves battle
for a spot in the following week's
block. After a three-or four-
hour cram session between
Boerma and the assistants on
Monday morning, the results are
posted and members find out if
they got a spot.
Marching band means the
world to each member of the
outfit. Like Fleming, they'd all
wish to take it with them.
I chose band over newspa-
per in high school. I've been
around music enough to know
that it's more than a hobby. It's
a lifestyle. It's one of the biggest
commitments you can make in
My oldest sister, Stephanie,
graduated from Michigan State
with a degree in horn perfor-
mance. My oldest brother, Dan,
graduated from the University
of Michigan's School of Music,
and my twin brother, Peter, is
currently enrolled there.
"Oh, so you're with the band?"
folks will ask them.
Well, they're in a band, but
not the band. Actually, only a
handful of music majors are
even in the marching band. It
takes too much time, too much
effort, too much pain. The band
is comprised of primarily LSA
and Engineering students; it's
their last hurrah in the music
"I love to tell people that,"
Boerma said. "People usually
assume it's all music majors."
You see, the band that takes
the field every Football Saturday
in Ann Arbor, isn't so different
from you and me. They just work
a lot harder, and often deal with
a lot more.
This column is long overdue.
This weekend, with the Min-
utemen in town, felt especially
So, this is for the band. For
the 380 students that can't help
but walk in step - in eight-to-
five steps - across campus. For
those who find beauty in uni-
form horn angles and a polished
bell. For those who know that
a right foot step-off is the most
unsettling feeling in the world.
It's for the ones who know
that a season with the Michigan
Marching Band can provide
more ups and downs and a lon-
ger disabled list than the foot-
ball team - and just about as
many hours of practice.
Maybe next time you'll show
up a few minutes early and see
the band emerge from the tun-
nel into the iconic 'M.'
Maybe you'll keep an eye on
the field at halftime, knowing
the time and effort put into
earning a spot in the perfor-
mance block. Maybe you'll
remember Patrick Fleming, who
will rest forever in maize and
I know I will.
- Nesbitt can be reached
at stnesbit@umich.edu.





There are sit
ing band family
see. If you und
the pain, the tii
- you might ge
time, you migh
during halftim
Michigan St
Carl Grapentin
halftime lineup
whipped the st
into a frenzy -
thousands othe
"Call Me Ma
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From Page 1B
Wolverines managed to tally
13 shots during the game but just
two were on goal. The Fighting
Irish had 17 shots, and nine were
fired on goal, keeping Michigan
sophomore goalkeeper Adam
Grinwis busy the entire after-
Grinwis tallied a career-high
eight saves. Many of those stops
came at key moments of the game,
including three free kicks all from
inside 20 yards.
When he wasn't leading the
Wolverines with his saves, Grin-
wis was the vocal leader of the
team. He constantly kept his
defense organized, visibly shout-
ing out instructions at any point in
the match.
"As a goalkeeper, I can see,

ed to b
well as
all the

ody on the field, and I want- a result. It's unfortunate but we'll
e able to coach my team as move forward," Grinwis said.
I can," Grinwis said. Lookingaahead, Daley believes
and the Michigan squad his team can show improvement,
sly gave the Fighting Irish especially with the Big Ten season
y could handle, but it was on the horizon.
Michigan coach Chaka "Itstarts with tighteningupour
own 18(-yard box), because we've
conceded bad goals at bad times
this year," Daley said. "It's been
e've conceded ourAchilles' heel all season."
Keeping the defense organized
go at and compact will help the Wol-
verines maintain consistency and
limit mistakes similar to the one
t that cost them the upset against
this year. the Fighting Irish.
Michigan will head to Lake-
side Field in Evanston on Sunday
to take on Northwestern in its
called "another bad goal at first conference match of the year.
ime" that ended up deciding There, the Wolverines will look
tch. to start their quest for a second
metimes you play good soc- Big Ten championship in the pro-
d you still don't get a win or gram's short history.

a bad ti
the ma
cer and




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nainl oign, age, marit asatsdiaility, sexual orientaionor status as a parent.

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