The UB marching band is taking their show to the streets for a major primetime performance on Monday Night Football this season.
According to James Mauck, Director of Athletic Bands, the marching band accepted an invitation from the Buffalo Bills to perform at halftime during their Sept. 19 home game against the Tennessee Titans.
“I’m really looking forward to my students,” says Mauck. “When I was in college I had the opportunity to play on Monday Night Football and it’s a big deal. They’re going to have so much fun.”
The offer came out of the blue.
Mauck received an email last month from Brian Haberkorn, director of game presentation for the Bills, formally requesting that the UB marching band perform at halftime Monday night’s game.
After receiving approval, Mauck accepted with thanks.
Haberkorn was familiar with the marching band from their performance at Ford Field in Detroit, the enduring home of the Mid-American Conference championship game and where Haberkorn previously served as game presentation and production manager for the Detroit Lions.
“I decided to do a local halftime gig because I wanted the home opener to be as centrally located in the Buffalo area as possible, and the band seemed made for a halftime gig,” said Haberkorn, who recently returned from the was hired bills.
“I found Jim’s contact information and, after contacting him, was pleasantly surprised to find him conducting the University at Buffalo marching band at this event in Detroit,” explains Haberkorn. “Although we never met face to face, I had a direct line of communication to ‘address the bands,’ so unknowingly we had worked together before.”
The marching band, nicknamed the “Thunders of the East,” will kick off around 8:30 p.m. and perform a routine that would last six to eight minutes, Mauck says.
While halftime gigs aren’t typically featured on the television show, the Bills’ invitation raises the band’s profile and adds another notch to the belt of their turbulent history. The band’s resume includes bowl game appearances, playing for former President Barack Obama during his visit to campus, and marching in the inaugural parade for former President Richard Nixon. The band celebrated their 100th anniversary last fall.
Mauck will also use the Monday Night Football gig as a recruitment tool as he continues to put the band together and onboard new members for the 2022-23 season.
In his 21st season as a director, Mauck always tries to convey these special experiences to his students.
“It’s all about her; it’s their band,” says Mauck. “So I want to offer them the best possible opportunities. I want them to have that chance to step into that field because you don’t get that often.”
The band’s preparation for Monday night’s performance will not affect their UB Football schedule. The home opener for the Bulls is on September 10 against Holy Cross.
“We haven’t quite finalized what we’re going to do for Monday night’s performance, so it’s going to come as a surprise to most people,” says Mauck. “But I guarantee it will be fun.”