So certainly you’ve heard by now that the Michigan Marching Band won’t be heading to Dallas.  I don’t like it eitherFergodsakes.

Local radio host Lucy Ann Lance suggested via Twitter that perhaps we could have a fundraiser to get the band to Dallas.   I’m not wild about putting that on the fans and geez, I hate to give the Machine more ideas about where to squeeze. 

That said, there is a historical precedent for passing the proverbial hat to get the MMB to big games.  From my run down of the 1910 season, there was a big plea made by students to make sure the band made the trip to the big game at Penn that year.   An alumnus 1848 helped out:

Random Notes: The Michigan band wanted to make the trip to Philadelphia to support the football squad, but needed to raise some money to supplement the university’s funding to make it happen. The Daily reported that a Mr. Joseph R. Smith, U-M class of 1848, sent $2.50 to the band leader to help. Eventually, thanks in large to the attention given to the matter in the Daily, the funding was secured and the band made the trek to the game to support the Wolverines.


I can tell that this happened frequently back in those days.  In fact, I recall one student writing the Daily suggesting that they charge a small fee at the Friday pep rallies so they could better manage these requests.

Update:  There is also a precedent for sending the band to huge games played in high profile neutral stadiums as well.  If there’s a baseball equivalent to Cowboy Stadium it’s Yankee Stadium, and the MMB not only made the trip when Michigan faced Army in 1950—Revelli and his crew absolutely killed it:

While the football squad took a bit of a beating in a hard fought battle, the Michigan Marching Band made a few headlines with a legendary performance on the historic field. Their effort earned a few inches in the Times post-game coverage:

1950 Army Michigan from Yankee Stadium

Brush away tear after reading that. My god, Revelli pulled out all the stops!

After that original post reader Jeremy sent over a few photos of the performance.  First photo is a salute to the opponent and the next, my favorites, is the band recreating a ride at the Coney Island amusement park: the Parachute drop:

A04 ARMYformationYankeeStadiumimage_thumb45


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  1. When thinking about donations and sponshorships its brings back to memory this Revelli gem from 1938.
    No advertising allowed!

    Since the Falcone years, Buick and Chevrolet had sponsored occasional trips for the Marching Band to attend out of town games. In 1938 in the belief that he was expressing appreciation to Buick for all it had done for the Marching Band, Revelli and the ROTC drill master came up with the idea of moving the letter “I” from a “Buck — I” formation — it was the OSU game — and moving it between the “u” and the “c” in “Buck” creating the word “Buick” while playing the Buick theme song. Revelli thought it was a clever idea. The next morning, at 2:00 am, Athletic Director, Fielding H. Yost called Revelli at his home. “Young man,” Yost shouted, “never do that again!” Advertising, after all, was not allowed on the gridiron!

  2. While I would love to see the band there, I think there’s a little bit of an ‘I want’ response by fans. What in the budget should get cut by $400K in order to send the band? I don’t see a lot of waste by the athletic dept and Dave Brandon isn’t pocketing the revenue. By sending the band they would be taking money from some student programs and giving it to another.

    Imagine what $400K could buy for one of the teams; is it worth an hours’ worth of band performances in Texas?

    A fund-raiser isn’t a bad idea.

  3. @guanxi

    If we have a projected net profit of $11M for the coming year, then we wouldn’t really be taking money away from any other programs, right? We’d be using money that isn’t budgeted for anything.

    I think Brandon’s done a good job overall, but here he’s just being obtuse.

  4. John B.,

    “If we have a projected net profit of $11M for the coming year, then we wouldn’t really be taking money away from any other programs, right? We’d be using money that isn’t budgeted for anything.”

    It is a rich athletic dept and I think it’s a good point that $400K may be affordable, but what you are saying doesn’t quite make financial sense. The $11M has to go somewhere; there are no shareholders to take dividends, so it goes into the general fund or next year’s budget or some longer-term investment. Somehow it’s used at the University.

    Is a band trip to Alabama the best way to use it? Maybe so, but there is always opportunity cost — the money would be used for something else at the University — nothing is free.

  5. Hey, I got an idea. Why doesn’t the band build a stadium, charge admission and make some money. Some of the richest people in the world are musicians. bahahahaha!!

  6. I support asking the Athletic Department to send the band to Dallas b/c of the sale of a football game to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. U of M is getting paid handsomely, and should find some way to spread the wealth with the Michigan Football “Experience”, which should include the MMB and cheerleaders, etc. Brandon should have factored that cost into the “sale” price.

    But there are limits and I think that a fair compromise might be for the school to fund half and organize a fund raiser for the other half. I’d give $2.50 to the cause!

  7. I really hope this can get resolved somehow. Whether it comes down to a donor stepping up or Brandon deciding to use AD funds, I don’t really care. We just need the MMB there for the game.

  8. Bob D. Don’t you think we need to factor in the cost of a new stadium just for the band? Remember it cost 226 million just for new addition to The Big House” Lord knows what a whole new stadium might cost.