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ESF Students Head to Super Bowl

Students in SU marching band to perform in pregame show

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While millions of people are gathering in family rooms and bars across the country to watch the Super Bowl on television, 13 ESF students will be the center of attention at MetLife Stadium, on the field as members of the Syracuse University Marching Band.

The band will perform during pregame festivities at Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday, Feb. 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The band will make a joint appearance on the field with the Rutgers University Marching Band. The performance is slated for 6 p.m., less than a half hour before kickoff.

The SU band was invited to the Super Bowl by the National Football League.

It's been a busy season for the marching band. The band not only performed at all SU home games, but also traveled with the team to MetLife Stadium in September when the Orange took on Pitt. They traveled to Montreal, Canada, for a pre-game and halftime performance for the Montreal Alouettes vs. Toronto Argonauts Canadian football game which was followed by a trip to play during halftime at a Buffalo Bills game in front of a crowd of 70,000 fans.

"We've traveled a lot. We've gone to Canada, we've gone to Texas," said Richard Rich, a freshman wildlife science major at ESF. However, the travel isn't even the best part of being in the band, he said. "I've met so many people that I wouldn't have met without marching band. It's kind of cool because I feel like I'm a student at both ESF and SU." Rich plays the trumpet in the band.

For the Super Bowl performance, the band will perform music by New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra and Brooklyn native Jay-Z. Selections include "Born in the USA," "Born to Run," "Livin' on a Prayer," "New York, New York," and "Empire State of Mind."

The invitation to perform at the Super Bowl came as the marching season was winding down and was a surprise to the band members.

"I was so shocked to hear that we were asked to perform," said freshman Michelle Rice, a flute player. "The only bad thing about this was having to keep the secret for about three weeks before we could publicly announce it to everyone and that included my immediate family. Keeping that big of a secret at the Thanksgiving dinner table was real tough."

Sophomore Michael Ferrara, a conservation biology major, spent five years in his high school marching band and joined SU's basketball pep band, the Sour Sitrus Society, his freshman year at ESF. "That was a blast," he said. His friends encouraged him to join the marching band and the results did not disappoint. "It's been a blast since," he said. "Now we're going to Super Bowl. I've been to the stadium so many times because my parents have season Jets tickets and I'm a Seattle Seahawks fan so it's beyond exciting."

Through the longstanding relationship between Syracuse University and ESF, students at ESF may participate in all the clubs and student activities at SU, including musical ensembles and club athletics.

Senior environmental studies major Brady Watson plays the tenor sax in the band. "I've been marching since my freshman year in high school and I picked ESF partly because I could do marching band at SU," he said. With friends in marching bands around the country, he noted that a lot of them are doing cool things, but "I'm the only one going to the Super Bowl."

Senior Connor Lynn Gaffney, a member of the band's color guard, has been marching with the Pride of the Orange for four years. The Super Bowl performance will mark the end of 11 years total of color guard experience. "This is the last time I get to perform because I'm graduating. It's the best way to end a season and end all the time I've spent spinning (color guard equipment) so far," said Gaffney, an environmental studies major.

"I feel incredibly lucky to be going to ESF and being able to participate in the Syracuse University Marching Band and being able to perform at one of the most watched sporting events in all of America," said Rice, an environmental biology major. "I really have been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime and all of the best friendships I have made throughout this season. It will truly be an unforgettable moment in my life!"


ESF students performing at Super Bowl pre-game festivities as members of the Syracuse University Marching Band are:

  • Cathleen Anthony, trombone, senior, environmental science, New Windsor, Md.,
  • Nicholas DiNardo, drumline, sophomore, undeclared, Reading, Mass.
  • Michael Ferrara, alto sax, sophomore, conservation biology, Holbrook, N.Y
  • Connor Lynn Gaffney, color guard, senior, environmental studies, Camillus, N.Y.
  • Lukas Matt, trumpet, freshman, environmental resources engineering, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Emily Miller, color guard, sophomore, wildlife science, Round Hill, Va.
  • Kirkland Nagy, baritone, senior, wildlife science, Pulaski, N.Y.
  • Michelle Rice, flute, freshman, environmental biology, Marcellus, N.Y.
  • Richard Rich, trumpet, freshman, wildlife science, Horseheads, N.Y
  • Aidan Russo, trumpet, freshman, paper engineering, Liverpool, N.Y.
  • Lindsay Rutte, baritone, junior, 
environmental biology, Morris, N.Y.
  • Gillian Sloan, trumpet, freshman, environmental studies, Auburn , N.Y.
  • Brady Watson, tenor sax, senior, environmental studies, Painted Post, N.Y.