The University of Minnesota Marching Band took the field alongside pop artist Justin Timberlake during Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
While audience members saw the band’s saxophone, brass, and drumline sections—wearing tuxedos instead of marching uniforms—perform during Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” other band members participated with about 450 dancers from around Minneapolis in different aspects of the show including the “Mirrors” routine.
“The students were thrilled, and they had the night of their lives,” says marching band director Betsy McCann. “It was just so incredibly energizing to walk out onto the field and see all of those people sitting there and just knowing the scope of this show and how many people we were reaching around the world. It’s the biggest stage in the country as far as a show goes, so they were incredibly excited and really, really focused.”
The band practiced about 60 hours total in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. “We felt really special to represent … all of our peers in marching band,” McCann says. “It was really special to us to know that we were a very visible part there.”
In the meantime, the band started a fundraising campaign for away-game travel, community outreach, student scholarships, and “endowing the directorship.”
“This campaign has been incredibly humbling as donations are coming in from all over the country from individuals whom we have never met or connected with before,” McCann says. “It’s amazing to see such widespread support for our students and goals.”