Michigan football’s shutout against Northwestern wasn’t the only memorable event to take place on the field at the Big House on Saturday.
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra took the field alongside the Michigan Marching Band and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance brass studios to perform a variety of songs.
And for this collaboration, it’s only the beginning: the famous symphony orchestra will now begin a five-year long residency in Ann Arbor.
John Pasquale, associate director of bands at the University, wrote in an e-mail that the halftime show marks the start of a multi-year partnership between the New York Philharmonic and the University. The symphony orchestra’s residency in Ann Arbor will include masterclasses, lectures and performances.
The residency will include lectures, performances and other educational opportunities for students. The University Musical Society will also bring three different orchestras to the University each year in addition to the New York Philharmonic.
LSA senior Emily Jablonski, a member of the marching band, said the group practiced Friday night with the New York Philharmonic and the brass studio, and said she enjoyed learning from the New York Philharmonic’s director, who conducted several pieces during the performance.
“It’s hard to describe,” she said. “It was, in my experience, the most exciting show that I’ve ever participated in. During the last piece that we were playing I was smiling so big it was almost hard to play my instrument. To hear all of us playing at the same time almost made me emotional. The sound of all of us playing together — it worked out so well and the New York Phil are such prolific players and it was amazing.”
LSA senior Matt Cloutier, the band’s drum major, said Friday’s rehearsal was especially spirited because it was the first time the band experienced playing with the New York Philharmonic.
“We’d been practicing the show for the week, however, we didn’t practice with the New York Phil until Friday night.” he said. “We did a dress rehearsal before that was actually an open rehearsal so some people got to come in and watch. They were super excited to be there and we were super excited to have them there, so it was definitely high energy. They were absolutely incredible and their director, Alan Gilbert, he was fantastic.”
Though the halftime show consisted of a variety of songs, both Jablonski and Cloutier said the finale stood out most for them.
Pasquale wrote that watching the students perform not only with the New York Philharmonic, but with the alumni band, the brass studios and chorale was an experience he won’t forget.
“The students’ reaction is why we teach — seeing their faces as they were playing is a highlight of my career thus far,” he wrote. “The (Michigan Marching Band’s) performance was fantastic and we are so proud of them. What they accomplished is testament that Michigan has the best and brightest students in the world. It was a great day for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and Michigan Athletics. It was a great day for the legacy, tradition and spirit of Michigan.”