Michigan Marching Band Shows Support for LGBTQ+ Community with Moving Halftime Performance

·3 min read
michigan marching band
michigan marching band

twitter The University of Michigan marching band show

The University of Michigan marching band recently delivered a powerful halftime performance in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Midway through the football game against Rutgers on Sept. 25, the Michigan marching band took the field, where they performed a medley of hits supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

According to the field announcer, the performance was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Michigan's Spectrum Center, a collaborative space of advocacy, ally-hood, education and support for the LGBTQ+ campus community.

"Love is love and love wins!" the band wrote on Twitter after the performance at Michigan Stadium. "Beyond proud to have brought this show to the field."

The Spectrum Center, which was established in 1971, was the first of its kind in higher education to support LGBTQ+ students on campus, according to its website.

michigan marching band
michigan marching band

twitter The University of Michigan marching band show

As shown in a video uploaded on YouTube, the band started their performance by playing "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga and "I'm Every Woman" by Whitney Houston.

As they played, the members marched into creative formations, including the word "Spectrum", a series of hearts, and the equal sign, which is the logo for the Human Rights Campaign.

Later, the band played "Hard to Break" by Kim Petras, "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, and "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper, which the announcer said was to "emphasize [the band's] unequivocal support for the LGTBQ+ community."

Then, the band marched into more words and phrases, including "Friend", "Family" and "Love Wins" before moving to the corner of the field to play the university's fight song.

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Speaking to The Advocate after the moving performance, John Pasquale, the director of the marching band and a professor of conducting at the university, said their intention for the halftime show was to make a statement about LGBTQ+ rights.

"I was proud to do it," Pasquale told the outlet. "The point we were trying to make is that love is love. And love wins... We just, as a community, came together and there it is."

Pasquale explained that the performance took approximately eight months to coordinate and was a result of a collaboration between his teammates and the band's LGBTQ+ students.

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michigan marching band
michigan marching band

twitter The University of Michigan marching band show

During its development process, Pasquale said he worked with his team to create the concept and visuals.

He also asked the band members, who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, to provide suggestions on what songs should be played, based on their experiences.

"We are unequivocally supportive of our students and [we] just wanted to make as public of a statement in that regard as possible, and we put the show in the biggest performance venue in the world that day," Pasquale told The Advocate. "So, I think it was a pretty strong statement."

michigan marching band
michigan marching band

twitter The University of Michigan marching band show

The performance was incredibly well-received, by students and faculty alike, according to Rachel Zhang, a clarinet player in the band who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

"At least from my perspective, it's been very nice and positive," Zhang explained to The Advocate. "This was our week — this was the week for the LGBTQ+ community to feel seen and to feel valued and respected. And it was a really beautiful thing to see."

The Spectrum Center was also moved by the tribute, writing on Twitter beside a video of the performance: "Wow! We were blown away by @umichband's special tribute to the Spectrum Center's 50th Anniversary!"

The band's performance comes ahead of LGBTQ+ History Month in October. The annual month-long observance celebrates the history of the LGBTQ+ community and the people who paved the way for their rights and "extraordinary national and international contributions," according to the website.