2020 SMB Member Reflections: Looking Back on Gameday Gigs

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by Harrison Orwig and Veronica Klingel, SMB Student Media Team

The Spartan Marching Band is an integral part of many Spartan fans’ gameday experience. Most fans are likely familiar with cherished gameday proceedings such as the SMB’s performance on Adams Field and the iconic March to the Stadium, but the band performs in many other events some may be unaware of. These events, known as “gigs,” are just another of the many SMB home game traditions.

One of the most notable gigs that takes place at each home game is “Team Walk.” Members of the MSU Football Team gather at the Spartan Statue to take a lap around the historic figure in preparation for their upcoming appearance. The SMB sends roughly forty of its members to this event to wish the team well and play Rah-Rah to turn up the Spartan spirit. The energizing performance takes place approximately two and a half hours before kickoff.

Another gig that takes place every Spartan gameday is the Drumline performance outside of the Student Bookstore on Grand River Avenue across from campus. The sounds of the drumline can be heard echoing all throughout campus, and this event tends to draw a big crowd. Those who are interested in attending should plan to be stationed near the bookstore two hours before the football game begins.

One of the SMB’s favorite gigs is the regularly occurring Friday night performance at the Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe. This restaurant has been hosting the SMB every Friday evening that precedes a home game for many years. A few members from each section of the ensemble make the trip north to perform from our repertoire of Rah Rah for the restaurant’s patrons. The SMB loves this opportunity to connect with the Spartan community and build excitement for the following gameday.

The aforementioned performances take place every home gameday, but some others are organized on a game to game basis. “Band-O-Grams” are one such example; individuals can arrange to have a group from the SMB come and play for their tailgate parties if they are members of the MSU Band Fan program at the $1,000 level.

To thank some of our most generous donors, the SMB will even create what is called a “spell-out” for them. The entire ensemble stands in a new drill that literally “spells out” a donor’s last name on the field of Spartan Stadium. This formation is then photographed and made into a special framed thank you for the donor.

Gigs act as another opportunity for the SMB to create excitement for MSU athletics programs and to thank our community for its generous support. Gamedays in East Lansing this fall might look a little different from the usual fanfare, but we look forward to future seasons when we will be able to share our music with all of you once again.