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UMass Band performs halftime of Pats home opener

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New England Patriots

Last weekend, the UMMB performed HALFTIME at Gillette Stadium for the New England Patriots’ home opener against the Houston Texans!

The Minuteman Band thrilled the Pats crowd with exciting performances of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” Music was arranged by John Leonard ’02, ’13 M.M. Drill was designed by Jason DeGroff ’93, ’95 M.M. Both of whom are band alumni and Minuteman Band Hall of Famers.

UMass Band performing Michael Jackson's Thriller

UMMB doing the “Thriller” dance at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 9, 2018. Photo by band parent Michael Sparks Keenan.

See more photos, courtesy of Michael Sparks Keenan.
Password is “Gillette”


It was the UMMB’s 10th halftime appearance at a New England Patriots game and first in 25 years. Previous appearances happened in 1966, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988 (twice), 1991, and 1993.

At the 1988 game versus the Chicago Bears, the Minuteman Band spelled “PONTIAC” on the field while performing the “Pontiac is Excitement” theme song for the automaker. UMMB fan favorite Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” was performed in 1982, 1985, and 1988.

Elsewhere in pro football, the band performed halftime for the New York Giants (1990 and 1992) and the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes (1998, 2002, and 2006).