For the first time,
Central Michigan University’s marching band will fire up Monday Night Football fans Sept. 10 at Ford Field as guests of the
Over the past 16 years, the Marching Chips have accompanied the CMU football team to multiple
Mid-American Conference championship and bowl games at Ford Field, but September’s performance — when the Lions play the New York Jets — will be the first time the band will play there as a guest of the NFL team.
The band then will have played for the Lions games at all three of the team’s home fields: Briggs Field, the Pontiac Silverdome and Ford Field.
Their first performance at a professional football game was at Briggs in the mid-1950s, where they were frequent guests through the ’60s and early ’70s.
Following construction of the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975, the Marching Chips played regularly under the fiberglass roof for the remainder of the ’70s and throughout the ’80s.
James Batcheller, director of the marching band, played at the Silverdome with the Marching Chips back in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
“We looked forward to it every year as an opportunity to play for a wider audience.”
The band will have to take time to get used to NFL field markings, which are different from those of the NCAA, Batcheller said.
His real excitement stems from the chance that future Marching Chips will attend the game.
“Somewhere in the audience that night, there will be a number of kids who see us for the first time,” he said. “We hope that our performance will inspire them to set their sights on CMU and become Marching Chips themselves.”