TERRE HAUTE —
Half-time shows at college football games are normally reserved for some relatively light entertainment and a chance to buy some snacks.
But Saturday, when Indiana State University hosts Butler University at Memorial Stadium, the halftime show will be much more. The ISU and Butler marching bands will do a joint performance designed to reflect the unity felt by the nation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“It’s one of the things that changed everybody’s life,” said Corey Francis, director of athletic bands at ISU and father to the idea of having a joint ISU-Butler musical tribute. “I’ve got a lot of friends in the military and friends who were in New York on 9/11,” he said. “We need to remember what happened and remember those who were heroes that day. That’s my goal.”
To achieve his goal, the ISU and Butler marching bands will join forces and perform Carmen Dragon’s “America, The Beautiful” during halftime. Both bands will also perform musical pieces on their own during the mid-game break.
“I’m very glad I’m not the one conducting this,” said David McCullough, director of athletic bands for Butler. The symbolism and the emotional power of the musical piece will make it a real challenge to retain composure during the joint performance, he said.
Sharing the field with an opposing team’s band is a relatively rare event in the college football world, but is not unprecedented, McCullough noted. But this is the first time Butler’s athletic band will make the trip to ISU since at least 1974, he said.
“We’re very pleased to be coming,” McCullough said. “Our kids are very proud to be able to do this.”
Francis, who was readying his marching Sycamore band this week for their performances Saturday, is clearly also taking the joint performance very seriously. The same is true for the band members.
“A lot of them have family in the military,” Francis said. What happened on Sept. 11, 2001 is “still fresh in the minds of Americans.”
ISU and Butler kickoff at 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The marching Sycamores will also perform a pre-game show, Francis said.
ISU’s football squad comes to the game after a 41-7 loss to Penn State last weekend. Butler is coming off of a 31-17 win over Albion College.
Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.