The University of Michigan will be home to the biggest single, live birthday bash event in the nation for the U.S. National Anthem's 200th anniversary when the Michigan Marching Band (MMB) and guest performers from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance present a monumental half-time extravaganza. The festivities--featuring 633 musicians, 500 singers and 109,901 football fans--take place on Saturday, September 13 at 3:30 p.m. at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor when the Wolverines play Miami (Ohio) University.
Titled Proudly We Hail!, this special MMB performance, under the direction of John Pasquale, Director of Marching and Athletic Bands and the Donald R. Shepherd Chair in Conducting, will present a musical history of "The Star Spangled Banner" and will feature the Michigan Dance Team and a 500-voice choir, comprising the combined U-M choirs, plus two soloists and a narrator.
The extravaganza will include a spectrum of patriotic music including a medley of American Revolution-era songs, songs of World War I and a tribute to Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The show will conclude with a powerful presentation of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," in which more than 1,100 performers will take the field, including the U-M collective choir, the Michigan Marching Band and the Miami University Band.
"This is something you won't want to miss," said John Pasquale. "While all of our halftime shows are unique in some regard, this one is especially meaningful because it is a celebration of our national identity. It has been an honor to put this production together and we look forward to sharing it with the world."
This very special halftime tribute is the result of a two-year collaboration between the MMB and Mark Clague, U-M Associate Professor of Musicology and a leading expert on the U. S. National Anthem. Clague produced the Anthem bicentennial recording project Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of "The Star-Spangled Banner," co-directs U-M's American Music Institute, and is a board member of the Star Spangled Music Foundation (SSMF), a non-profit created to distribute materials to K-12 educators about American music, especially the Anthem. Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the song by the U.S. victory in the Battle of Baltimore on September 14, 1814.
"The history of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is the story of American democracy in action," said Clague. "I'm thrilled to share this research with fellow fans in the Big House and indeed the whole nation."
In addition to the half-time show, U-M is celebrating the Anthem's bicentennial with an exhibit at Hatcher Graduate Library titled "Banner Moments: The U.S. National Anthem in American Life," which illustrates the cultural history of the national anthem and includes one of a dozen surviving copies of the original 1814 sheet music imprint of "The Star-Spangled Banner. "
In connection to the exhibit, the Graduate Library will also host a concert on Sunday, September 14 at 4 p.m. performed by voice students from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, conducted by Jerry Blackstone, Chair of the Department of Conducting and Director of University Choirs, with historical commentary by Professor Clague. Five additional Anthem bicentennial events will take place at the Library between September 26 and December 5. For complete information, visit the Hatcher Library calendar of events.
Follow all of the U-M activities surrounding the National Anthem bicentennial on Twitter: #Anthem200 and #ProudlyWeHail.