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Rutgers Marching Band Lands Super Bowl Gig [AUDIO]

Regardless of which teams represent the National Football League in Super Bowl XLVIII, the uniforms of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be on the field.

The NFL has invited Rutgers University’s marching band to perform 30 minutes before the scheduled 6:25 p.m. kickoff on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium.

While college marching bands were often used for Super Bowl halftime shows in the early years of the game, they have since been marginalized in favor of celebrity musical performances. However, college bands have been making a comeback as pre-kickoff entertainment.

This year, to emphasize the partnership between New York and New Jersey in hosting the game, Rutgers will join Syracuse University for a joint performance.

“Collaboration amongst bands like that doesn’t happen too often,” said Timothy Smith, director of athletic bands at Rutgers University.

Smith said Rutgers students are starting to learn the routine during winter break, and they hope to get a few practices in before the big game.

“We’ll learn the music and drill on our campus, and the day of the game we’ll go up a little bit early and dovetail it with Syracuse,” Smith said.

Rutgers and Syracuse athletics had a long history as Big East Conference rivals, but both programs are in the process of realigning. Syracuse is now part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, while Rutgers will join the Big Ten in 2014 — meaning the Super Bowl is a chance for the two schools to reconnect on the field.

“The band director up there and I have known each other for several years, as colleagues in the Big East, and we have a great working relationship so it should be a lot of fun,” Smith said.

When Smith got the opportunity to inform his band members of their upcoming involvement in the big game, he said there was a lot of excitement.

“It’s the Super Bowl for football players, but to get a marching band on that field and be a member of that band, that’s the marching band’s Super Bowl too,” Smith said.

Rutgers will send 200 members of its band and Syracuse will send roughly 185, and band members will wear the uniforms of their respective schools.

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