Home New U-M Drum Major from New Baltimore Relishes Unforgettable Rose Bowl

U-M Drum Major from New Baltimore Relishes Unforgettable Rose Bowl

by Madonna

New Baltimore resident Blake Brdak, drum major of the University of Michigan Marching Band, couldn’t have asked for a better experience at the Rose Bowl. Reflecting on the dream-like sequence of events, Brdak expressed his profound satisfaction with the entire journey, culminating in the Wolverines’ dramatic 27-20 overtime victory against the University of Alabama.

“It was awesome. It was a dream come true,” Brdak shared just two days after the nail-biting triumph.

The festivities began with the Rose Parade and the College Football Playoff National Championship semi-final, both of which Brdak considered sufficient to fulfill his dream. However, the Wolverines added an exclamation point by clinching victory in a thrilling fashion.

Ella Dennis of White Lake Township, one of the band’s baton twirlers, echoed the sentiment, describing the experience as “absolutely amazing.”

Brdak, 21, a senior, emphasized the significance of the Rose Bowl for marching bands, noting that the parade and halftime show hold special prominence, being the longest one televised among bowl games.

The day kicked off early for band members, with a 3 a.m. wake-up call and departure from the Sheraton hotel in Los Angeles at 4:30 a.m. The procession along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., commenced at 8 a.m., drawing a vibrant crowd “five or six deep” along the entire 5-½-mile route. Brdak, as the leader of the contingent, engaged with spectators during parade stoppages, sharing the joy of the moment.

Post-parade, the bands, including U-M and Alabama, enjoyed a lunch courtesy of In-N-Out Burger before heading to the game. The band showcased their musical prowess with a pregame show and a halftime performance featuring a Coy Fry arrangement of “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles, “Swan Lake” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and a medley from the “Ted Lasso” TV series.

During the game, band members played at their seats while Brdak had the opportunity to watch. The tension escalated in the final minutes as the Wolverines rallied to tie the game, narrowly avoiding a loss on a muffed punt, ultimately securing victory with a Blake Corum touchdown and crucial defensive stop in overtime.

Amid the euphoria of victory, Brdak and his fellow band members briefly celebrated on the field before returning to their hotel for a well-deserved dinner at Fogo de Chao Brazilian steakhouse.

Despite the late-night drama, the band, now recovering from their whirlwind Rose Bowl experience, faces another exciting chapter. Brdak revealed that they are set to leave for Houston on Saturday to attend the championship game against the University of Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, with potential performances at one or two events leading up to the game.

As classes resume on Wednesday, the U-M band, under the leadership of Blake Brdak, will carry the memories of their Rose Bowl triumph into the next stage of their musical journey.

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