Minuteman Marching Band to play at Patriots’ game halftime

The band will perform at Gillette Stadium on Sunday


(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Abigail Charpentier, News Editor

The New England Patriots’ 2018 home-opener will feature more than just the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. The University of Massachusetts’ 380-member marching band will head to Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 9 to perform at the game’s halftime.

The Minuteman Marching Band will perform for six minutes in Foxboro. The band will play Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”

“Since 2010, the Minuteman Marching Band has made numerous appearances at Gillette Stadium, but we haven’t been there for a Patriots game during that time. The last time the UMMB played at a Patriots game, Bill Parcells was the coach and Tom Brady was a student at the University of Michigan,” said band director Timothy Todd Anderson in a press release.

“So, we’re very excited to perform for an audience that may have never seen us before.”

Madeline Maciag, nursing junior and trombone player, said she is excited to play at Gillette Stadium, but is also a little nervous.

“It’s our first performance as a full band of our show, but I think it is going to be really good,” Maciag said. “This will be a great experience, especially for the people who just joined. It’s their first gig and they get to play for one of the biggest audiences we’ve ever done.”

Jaclyn Nicholson, a communication and marketing senior and a drum major, said the band found out they were performing before this year’s band camp began.

The Marching Band finished their 12-hour days of band camp last week, where a large portion of preparation for this performance took place. The two Jackson songs have also been the focus of their rehearsals this week, and they will be solely practicing them on Thursday and Friday for the performance on Sunday. The band will practice in their uniforms on Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at McGuirk Stadium.

“We have multiple different songs in our show, but we wanted to do the Michael Jackson ones because they were the most familiar and probably the ones most people in the audience would appreciate,” Nicholson said.

Michael Galetta, a kinesiology senior and drum section leader, said the band will also perform a “fresh take” on Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” which they had performed originally in 2012.

Galetta explained how the band’s name, “Power and Class of New England,” often plays a part in deciding the pieces of music they perform, as it did for “The Firebird.”

“I think ‘The Firebird’ is definitely one of power and class and both kind of come together in that one piece. So, I think it fits us pretty well.”

The UMMB will also be debuting its new uniforms for the first time in Massachusetts during its performance at Gillette Stadium. Its older uniforms were made out of heavy wool and were about 15 years old.

The band’s PR manager Rachael Fuchs, senior hospitality and tourism management and clarinet player, said the band’s new uniforms are updated and modern. The new jackets are split in half, representing “power and class” with the different sides – one side is dark red and has white strips (power) and the other side is white with the UMass logo (class).

Prior to the performance at halftime, the drumline will split in half and parade through the parking lot to excite those attending the game.

“We’ll probably play the Michael Jackson stuff and we have some fun little stand tunes type pieces that we play that tend to get people excited and ready to go in and enjoy our overall performance,” Galetta said.

Although Gillette Stadium will provide a large audience, The UMMB’s largest audience was at the 129th Rose Parade in January with nearly 700,000 audience members and 44 million television viewers worldwide. Nicholson said it was a surreal experience, performing in Disneyland and marching the five-and-a-half mile parade.

Most recently, the band has performed at a football game at Boston College and at the opening of MGM in Springfield.

Correction: Jaclyn Nicholson’s position in the band has been changed since original publishing to reflect her role as a drum major.

Abigail Charpentier can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @abigailcharp.