You never know where the Stanford Band will turn up

Stanford Band on ice
The Stanford Band performs at the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game in San Jose.

Sometimes the STANFORD BAND appears in places where you least expect it. Take the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game, for instance, which was held in San Jose on Saturday, Jan. 26.

In fact, the NBC coverage of the All-Star Game opened with Stanford Band manager DAKOTA WILLIS, a tuba-playing senior comparative studies in race and ethnicity major from Albuquerque, blowing a whistle to begin the Band’s performance. Willis created a special sequin-covered, hockey-shaped conducting stick for the occasion. The NHL gave Willis a custom-made jersey featuring the San Jose Sharks logo on the front and the name of the Stanford Band on the back.

“The inspiration for the stick I used came out of a meeting with NHL leadership, where they showed me a bedazzled hockey stick they had made a few years past,” Willis said. It took Willis two days to create a stick adorned with some 1,560 sequins.

The Band was invited to perform by NHL officials seeking to add some pizzazz to the pregame activities.

“They wanted something no one has ever seen before and will never see again,” said RUSS GAVIN, the Dr. Arthur P. Barnes Director of Bands.

The Band played Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” and its own theme song, “All Right Now,” during player introductions. A brass fanfare – Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes” – opened the second half of the game. The group’s appearance was actually planned to be briefer, but Gavin said the NHL officials “liked how we sounded and the energy we brought” during rehearsals and decided to extend the Band’s performance.

The experience with the NHL was what Willis called “really amazing,” adding, “The production team wanted to preserve LSJUMB’s irreverent and unique spirit. I never had to argue with them about our divergence from ‘normal marching bands’ because they were the ones pushing for us to be crazier.”

To minimize slippage, Gavin said the 55 Band members performing wore special “ice traction cleats” affixed to their sneakers. After their performance, Band members stayed to watch the hockey competition.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Gavin said. “Everyone who interacted with the Band praised the students for their efforts, flexibility and professionalism. I think we may have defied some expectations.”

See the video on Twitter by PAUL HUMPHRIES, director of the Stanford Alliance for Innovative Medicines.