Super Bowl LIV half time show fireworks

University of Miami students perform at Super Bowl LIV

By Wendy Rees

University of Miami students perform at Super Bowl LIV

By Wendy Rees
In what was a star-studded week for the host city of the NFL championship game, students from the University of Miami’s Frost Band of the Hour and the color guard, as well as the Hurricanettes dancers, were given the opportunity to perform on professional football’s biggest night.

The University of Miami Frost Band of the Hour appeared front and center with National Football League stars, hall of famers, Hollywood celebrities, and pop music icons as part of the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show held at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. The game marked a record-breaking 11th time that the city of Miami has hosted the pro-football championship.

The University’s marching band, color guard, and the Hurricanettes dance team appeared in four high-profile NFL events during Super Bowl week, most notably as cast members and featured dancers for the explosive Super Bowl LIV halftime show, co-headlined by music superstars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. According to NFL organizers, the show was seen by more than 114 million people worldwide.

Hurricanette Carly Battipaglia, a sociology and criminology major, has been dancing on the team for three years.

“I’ve never danced with, and for, famous artists before, but in rehearsal, J-Lo and Shakira went full out and never failed to impress. When I stepped on the field at halftime, I took a look around and it definitely felt special. I feel lucky and grateful to have been a part of it all,” she said.

Ahead of kickoff, the Hurricanettes also appeared as event ambassadors, escorting some of the greatest players and coaches in NFL history to the field—Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Bill Belichick, and more. Team members unfurled a giant U.S. flag as multiplatinum recording artist Demi Lovato sang the national anthem.

Engineering senior Donald Fielding, a trumpeter and four-year veteran of the Frost Band of the Hour, said that “stepping on the field for both pregame and halftime was electric. The audience went wild when Shakira jumped off the stage and crowd surfed over our band. We practiced it at rehearsal, but being there live was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Over the course of two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, Frost Band of the Hour students juggled their classes and calendars to attend closed rehearsals at multiple venues. All were bound to a strict NFL confidentiality agreement as they bussed from the Frost School of Music to various undisclosed rehearsal sites, some that included advance run-throughs with J-Lo, Shakira, and the women’s award-winning choreographers.

Kicking off Super Bowl LIV festivities at Marlins Park on Jan. 27, the 25-piece Frost Band of the Hour Drumline appeared at “Super Bowl Opening Night,” an international media showcase that featured players and coaches from the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. The ensemble pumped up fans with their rhythmic cadences and popular tunes, performing throughout the stadium and on center stage, where both championship teams were introduced.

“Never have I experienced such a sea of media,” exclaimed classical percussionist and Frost Music Education junior Steven Mailloux-Adler, “Our drumline was really dialed in. There were cameras and microphones everywhere, and every corner we turned fans were chanting ‘we got some ’Canes over here’ and throwing up the U.”

On Saturday night, members of the marching band and Hurricanettes headed downtown to herald NFL superstars and celebrities arriving for the annual NFL Honors awards show, telecast from the Adrienne Arsht Center. The show recognized the best players, performances, and plays from the current season, as well as the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The spirited fanfare and colorful pageantry of the Frost Band of the Hour was featured prominently throughout NFL Network’s coverage from the red carpet.

“The values, work ethic, and professionalism learned in the Frost Band of the Hour prepared our students for these once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunities with the NFL,” said Jay C. Rees, director of the band and professor. “The band represented the University of Miami and the Frost School of Music with great energy, class, and dignity.”