CMU band 'thrilled' to play at Ford Field on 'Monday Night Football'

Grand Rapids junior Alex Kramer yells with fellow march band members during Central Michigan University's season opening game against University of Rhode Island Aug. 31 at Kelly / Shorts Stadium.

For the first time in Central Michigan University band history, the Marching Chips will perform on "Monday Night Football" at Ford Field in Detroit.

The game between the Detroit Lions and New York Jets is the first "Monday Night Football" game of the 2018 regular season.

"We are thrilled they thought of us," CMU Band Director James Batcheller said. 

The game is at 7:10 p.m. Sept. 10 on ESPN and ABC. The performance may not be broadcast on live TV since the band will be performing during the halftime show. 

Batcheller said there is a possibility the Marching Chips will be on TV, and it might be because of head football coach John Bonamego's connection with the Lions. Bonamego served as the Detroit Lions special teams coordinator in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. 

The Lions organization reached out to Batcheller to consider the proposal and see if it would work for both entities. CMU will not pay for this performance at Ford Field. The Lions are providing transportation and meals for more than 300 band members. 

In the past, before the Lions moved to Ford Field, Batcheller said it was common to see high school and college bands performing at halftime. 

"They haven't done a lot of this in recent years," Batcheller said. "One of the problems when they moved to Ford Field is that there are fewer seats. At the Silverdome, (bringing bands in) would fill up seats that nobody wanted to buy." 

The band, now in its 96th season, will arrive before kickoff and prepare outside prior to heading into the stadium for the halftime show. Because of time constraints with the broadcast, the band will perform for seven minutes, compared to a regular 10-11 minute set. 

"It is important because it gives us a couple of opportunities," Batcheller said. "The target audience for this is that there are a ton of CMU alumni and fans that live in Southeast Michigan. This is an opportunity for us to show off for them." 

Batcheller noted the possible recruiting reward of participating in events like this. There might be someone in the crowd who sees the band and wants to come to CMU, he said.